Can I Travel With a Newborn on a Train?

By Sharon Secor

In general, traveling with a newborn in an infant car safety seat on a train is safe. Not every baby, however, falls into the general category, so it is best to speak with your pediatrician first. Train travel offers advantages over other modes of travel for the parents of a newborn. If your baby fusses, you can hold him, something you can't do in a car. Feeding and changing your baby is likely to be more comfortable and convenient when traveling by train than when in an automobile. Pack newborn essentials with easy access in mind.

Planning For The Train

Many trains allow newborns to travel free of charge, with the understanding that they'll share a parent's seat. If there is an empty seat next to a parent, usually a parent can use that seat for the newborn, but will have to relinquish it to another traveler if the train gets crowded. Although not legally mandated in many regions, it is safer for your newborn to use an infant car safety seat on a train. Booking a seat for your baby, if possible, is the best choice to ensure a seat next to you for your newborn in her infant safety seat. For long train trips, booking a sleeper can make things easier. Some include amenities like in-room showers and complementary meals.

Packing For Newborn Needs

Try to keep luggage as compact as possible to ensure that you are able to carry your newborn safely while managing luggage. You'll need to confirm details when you book your tickets, as policies can differ with different travel providers, but many trains don't count your diaper bag against your allowable carry-on bags. Some also allow parents to bring on a folding stroller and a small cooler for formula. Arrange your diaper bag for easy access to the things you'll need most often, like diaper changing supplies. Include some small plastic bags to wrap dirty diapers in before depositing in waste receptacles. Be sure to include emergency supplies, like an infant fever and pain reliever approved by your pediatrician and a thermometer, along with extra baby wipes and diaper rash cream.

Protect Your Newborn's Health

Public places have lots of germs. Many types of viruses can stay alive on surfaces for hours. The Centers for Disease Control reminds parents to be careful to wash hands frequently, as well as anything the baby uses, like a pacifier, that is dropped on the floor or handled by someone else. Bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer and use it before handling your newborn. Be polite but firm about not allowing strangers to touch your newborn to avoid colds, flu, and other communicable illnesses.

Be Considerate of Other Travelers

When traveling with a newborn, you'll find many people are kind and considerate. They'll let you and your newborn go first, hold doors for you, and let you take the more convenient seats. Return the favor by remembering to be considerate of other passengers. If you have someone sitting next to you or nearby and your baby fusses too loudly, take a little stroll down the aisle or move to an empty seat with nobody nearby. Don't let your belongings infringe on another traveler's space. On departing the train, let others exit first, rather than blocking the aisle while preparing to carry your baby and your luggage.

About the Author

Sharon Secor began writing professionally in 1999, while attending Empire State University. Secor specializes primarily in personal finance and economics, and writes on a broad range of subjects. She is published in numerous online and print publications, including Freedom's Phoenix, the ObscentiyCrimes and the American Chronicle.