Travelling with Children

Taking the kids on vacation can create memories for a lifetime! To help your family trip go smoothly, consider the following suggestions and guidelines.

Passports and Documentation

A valid Canadian passport is now required for all children, including newborns and infants. While previously, Canadian law had allowed young children to be written into their parent/guardian's passport, this is no longer legally permissible.

Other important documentation to carry may include birth certificates, landing cards, Canadian Citizenships, divorce papers, custody court orders, or Indian Status cards. If one parent is deceased, a death certificate may be required.

Consent Letters

A consent letter serves to confirm the child has permission to travel abroad, and is essential when the child is travelling alone or with one parent.

This letter should be signed by every non-accompanying person or organization that holds rights to make major decisions for the child in question. These rights include custody rights, guardianship rights, or parental authority in Quebec.

When compiling a consent letter, it is recommended that the document is certified by an official with the authority to administer an oath or solemn declaration. This may be a commissioner of oaths, a lawyer, or a notary public. This decreases the chances of border control questioning the validity of the letter.

A template for a child's consent-to-travel form can be found here:
https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/children/consent-letter

Baby Food and Liquids

Baby formula, baby food, breast milk or bottles are exempt from the liquid/gel constraints for air travel. These may be brought in any reasonable quantity to last through the flight. However, you must indicate to the Transportation Security Officer at security that you are carrying Medically Required Liquids when you arrive at the checkpoint. These must be carried in a zip-top bag, and will be subjected to additional screening including opening the containers. Labelling each liquid is recommended, but not required.

During the Flight

Be sure to travel with plenty of distractions to keep the kids busy. Soft toys, new and loved books, and other sources of entertainment are crucial to a pleasant flight experience.

In terms of child seats, you may contact the airline in advance to discuss seating options for your child. Many car seats or child restraints are either not allowed or ineffective on an aircraft.

Be aware that no adult can be responsible for more than one infant (defined as a child less than two years of age) on board the aircraft. This is in case of an emergency evacuation, as navigating the narrow aisles with more than one child raises a safety concern for all involved. 

While Abroad

When arriving in a new destination, be sure you designate a "meeting place" in case of separation. Your child should always carry an information card with your hotel name, room number, and contact information.

As well, you should always carry a recent photograph or two of your child, in case of separation or emergency identification. 

Preparation Is the Key

If you are properly prepared, your family vacation or trip should be a breeze. Bon voyage!