YouTuber Shares Genius Hack For Getting a Baby to Sleep on a Plane

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A savvy travel-loving mom has shared her clever trick to get toddlers to nod off on flights. Brittany Warfaring, a Vancouver, Canada-based influencer, is no stranger to the skies, often jetting off with her other half, Philippe Fernandez, and their two-year-old son Dori. This adventurous trio has banked more than 50 flights

She uses this travel experience to create content, regularly serving up tips on YouTube. One of her latest videos is a genius hack to get your little ones to sleep on a plane, no easy task. She says with a bit of planning, you can create an environment that’s soothing and so cozy that your kid might even ask for a nap.

Challenges, Tips and Tricks

In a recent YouTube video, Warfaring shared her experiences and challenges with getting her young son to sleep during flights, describing it as a significant source of stress. She listed a variety of strategies she had previously employed when her son Dori was still small enough to be a ‘lap infant.’ These included bringing a baby carrier, a portable sound machine, books, and his “blankie.”

“I planned my flights around his naps and his bedtimes to give the greatest chances of him falling asleep,” she says. However, as Dori grew older and started occupying his own seat on the plane, Brittany realized that while all those items were still necessary, there was another “crucially important” aspect to consider. Toddlers, she says, need their own sleeping space to fall and stay asleep comfortably.

Simply having him on her lap or in the seat was no longer working, leading Wayfaring to pack something to help create a cozy space on every trip or, as Warfaring puts it, “sleep ain’t happening.” She then shared some options for makeshift airplane beds, including bringing the child’s car seat on board, especially if the toddler sleeps well in the car. 

However, she quickly added that this method didn’t work for her son or herself. “It’s annoying to lug around — there’s potential for kicking the seat in front of you, which is not fun to deal with,” she says. Plus, Dori was just not up for being stuck in a seat and unable to move for long periods.

Brittany then discussed a second alternative — sitting in the bulkhead row. These rows without any seats in front of them provide “significantly more leg space.”

She suggested that if you’re comfortable with your toddler sleeping on the floor, this row could be a good choice. You can bring blankets and pillows on the plane and create a small floor bed for your toddler.

However, according to Warfaring, there are some downsides to this option. For instance, in case of turbulence, you’ll need to wake your child and secure them back in their seat. She also pointed out that it’s not the safest option, and the bulkhead row can be pretty bright and noisy, as it’s often near where flight attendants prepare meals and passengers use the restroom, resulting in more foot traffic.

What’s more, you can’t keep your carry-on bags with you during takeoff and landing, and they must be stored in the overhead bin.

The biggest drawback, according to Brittany, is that on many planes, the armrests in the bulkhead row are fixed and cannot be raised. “This means your toddler can’t lay on you, which is a big con for me right now,” she said. 

The Ultimate Toddler Sleep Hack

Warfaring’s ultimate hack has been her go-to for the past six months. She brings a toddler bed onto the plane. She says many customizable beds are available to fit your child’s preferences, listing brands and options such as Jet Kids and Bubba Boards, air cots, and hammock-like seat extenders. “All of these pretty much do the same thing in different ways, which is to extend your toddler’s airplane seat so that their feet are not hanging; the seat is more like a lay-flat bed,” she explains.

The foundation of Brittany’s setup is an inflatable footrest from Amazon that inflates in minutes without a pump. She tucks it into the footwell and layers jackets and sweaters over the makeshift bed for added comfort.

But the real “super secret way” they improve on this design, according to Brittany, is a simple tweak. She brings a thin baby muslin blanket and a few clips on the plane to create a small canopy. This setup helps to shield her son from the lights, reducing the chances he wakes up and creating a “cozy cocoon” for him to rest inside.

Brittany cautioned that such DIY setups might not be permitted on some airlines due to safety concerns during emergencies, especially if your child blocks the aisle seats so people can’t move freely.

After sharing her top bed solutions (check out Sleepopolis’s reviews of the best crib mattresses while you’re at it), she suggests that parents should avoid letting their kids nap at the airport and tire them out before the flight. She recommends starting flights off with sleepy YouTube videos or telling stories to get your kid in a relaxed and restful state. Snuggles and comforting your toddler, letting them know it’s safe to fall asleep, is the last step before they “cross fingers and hope for the best.”

More Advice From the Experts

According to Brittany Betts, a travel expert with, while it’s crucial that your child follows the proper safety precautions and has a correct CRS device if you can figure out a way for them to be comfortable with a pillow or blanket while remaining secure, then all should be fine. “Some airlines also allow inflatables where you can place your toddler in order for them to feel more comfortable,” she says. 

Betts says Warfaring’s strategy to work around your child’s schedule is worth considering. “One of the most important tips to making sure that your infant or child is happy while traveling via plane is to ensure that you don’t get off track when it comes to your schedule,” she says. If you have a specific time for naps or meals, stick to this routine. “That will help with the jet lag and overall discomfort that a toddler will feel while flying,” adds Betts.

When it comes to the plethora of gear toddlers need for travel, it’s wise not to put anything in your checked luggage that you can’t live without. “Luggage gets lost or delayed all the time, so keep the toys or blankets the kids can’t sleep without, medication, ID documents, and anything else important in your carry-on or personal items,” advises Anton Radchenko, an aviation lawyer and the founder of AirAdvisor. “The good news is that if your child has their own seat, they will at least get a personal item to help carry all your family’s stuff,” he adds.

Lastly, and likely the most crucial aspect of flying as a family with little ones, is to make sure you’re all sitting together. “Some of the major US airlines guarantee a child under 13 will be automatically seated next to one accompanying adult, but that definitely doesn’t mean the whole family will be seated together,” warns Radchenko. Currently, the airlines that offer this include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Frontier Airlines.

But, to keep everyone together, it’s best to pay to book your seats in advance (if possible), regardless of what airline you’re flying. It’s also wise to know your airline’s seating policy in advance. “For example, Southwest Airlines does not assign seats — ever. It’s a free-for-all when you board. In certain instances, you can use the Family Boarding, which occurs between groups A and B. Otherwise, get into the earliest booking group you can,” says Radchenko.

  • Betts, Brittany. Author interview. February 2024.

  • Radchenko, Anton. Author interview. February 2024.

Rachel MacPherson

Rachel MacPherson

Rachel MacPherson, BA, is a CPT, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Exercise Nutrition Specialist, Certified Pre/Post-Partum Fitness Trainer, and Pain-Free Performance Specialist. She's passionate about providing readers with straightforward, actionable tips to make living an active, vibrant, fulfilling life easier. When she's not writing, you can find her lifting heavy things, reading, exploring outdoors, or watching the newest iteration of the Star Wars Universe. She lives with her family and pets in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada.

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