When your son or daughter becomes too large or fidgety to remain as a lap child, and you finally decide to plunk down the change for a seat, not all problems go away…
- Why does this kid keep dropping toys on the floor?
- How do I get the baby to sleep during nap time?
- Will my baby be comfortable?
- Will the baby need to sleep across my wife and I, making it so that I can’t really move?
The $29.95 1st Class Kid Travel Pillow aims to answer and solve these questions.
So… what is it? It’s basically a balloon that can be inflated and deflated. This balloon is soft, and it’s shaped to wedge down to fill in the area that would be, for adults, the legroom in front of the seat.
We tested this with our 18 month old son on two different flights: SFO-JFK in Virgin America Economy Class and JFK-SFO in JetBlue Economy Class. For our first flight out, we didn’t inflate the pillow until my son started to look tired and ready to nap.
Inflating the pillow is pretty easy. There’s a valve that opens up, and the instruction manual suggests that you hold it up to the air conditioning vent above the seat. I felt a bit odd doing this, as I wondered if people might be curious about this large inflatable thing that I was holding up high to inflate, but it actually did work to get the bulk of the pillow inflated. I then screwed the primary valve on, and I popped the part off that lets you inflate manually by blowing into it. I had the pillow puffed up in no time. Note: the manual warns against inflating it before you hit cruising altitude, as the increase in pressure may cause it to pop. Once my son was ready to sleep, we stuck the pillow down there and made him a little bed.
It actually worked! We were able to get the little guy to fall asleep, and he looked pretty comfy! The pillow isn’t perfect. It doesn’t take the seat and turn it into a perfect mattress. We found that the pillow was a bit higher than the seat, so our son was on a bit of an angle. Even so, he was sleeping in a much more natural position than if he were across our lap or wedged against the window. He didn’t end up sleeping that long on the plane ride out, unfortunately. His nap was only 30 minutes or so. We wondered if he was comfortable or not, and we figured we’d try it again on our flight home. Maybe he just wasn’t that tired.
On our way back west, we didn’t wait to inflate the pillow. We just inflated it immediately after we hit cruising altitude, and I recommend this approach. We bought this pillow so our son could sleep, but it turns out that it just gave him way more space to play. He had more room to squirm around. Sometimes he sat on the pillow. Sometimes he sat on the seat. We ended up picking way less toys up off the floor. This time when he went to sleep, he really conked out.
He snuggled up with his lovey, and he passed out quickly. This time, he slept super well. He stayed in that position you see above for over two hours, which is in line with how long his better naps are these days. Also, I will let you know that no artificial sleep aids were used in the testing of this product :-). We decided against using Benadryl or anything like that. Since we started traveling with a baby, flights haven’t been the same. They’ve been joyful in many ways, but we don’t get to kick back and relax like we used to. With Zachary passed out for two hours, we found time to enjoy the fast, free JetBlue WiFi and enjoy our flight home.
I definitely recommend the 1st Class Kid Travel Pillow. At only $30, it’s not very expensive. Considering that it’s essentially just a balloon, it deflates to be packed easily. It worked great for our toddler. We’ll have another chance to give it an even more rigorous test when we have a family trip to London in a few months! I’ll make sure to report back!