Tips for packing excess liquids for flights with babies and toddlers – beyond the 311 rule

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Wondering if you can bring milk on a plane for your toddler? Or if extra liquids or pureed items will count against your carry-on limit, this post will help!

Questions addressed in this post:

Can I bring milk on a plane for my toddler? * How much liquid formula or baby food can I put in my carry on bag? * And how do I pack and present baby bottles and baby food at security?

If you’ll be flying with a baby or toddler, remember that your pint-sized companion is entitled to bring onboard a “reasonable amount” of liquids or gels beyond the 3-1-1 rule for liquids in carry on baggage.

Here are the details of which liquids are allowed and tips for HOW TO TRAVEL with extra liquids in your carry on bag. But first – pin this to your travel board for future reference (and to help others)!

excess liquids on flight with baby

Why the 311 rule doesn’t apply to certain liquids:

The TSA classifies infant formula, breast milk, baby food, and toddler beverages as “medically necessary liquids” for the youngest of travelers. Because of this, caregivers are allowed more than the 3.4 ounce or 100 milliliter limit of certain liquids (or liquid-like products) in carry on bags.

These include:

  • Liquid infant formula
  • Expressed breast milk
  • Ice packs and gel packs for cooling
  • Baby foods
  • Puree pouches
  • Shelf-stable milk for toddlers (or almond, soy, oat milk, etc.),
  • Other toddler beverages.
  • Liquid medications.

And that’s especially good news for any parent who wants an alternative to sugary juices generally offered to toddlers on airplanes.

What’s more, these extra liquids do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag like standard liquids for carry on according to the 311 rule. Here’s how I recommend you pack them for ease of travel.

How to pack your child’s extra liquids for carry on:

For swift passage through airport security, place any of these larger-quantity liquid items in a clear gallon-size zip-top bag. You can easily remove it from your diaper bag or carry on bag to set on top of other items as you ready your items for the X-ray scanner.

The clear, zip-top bag will also help keep your child’s items organized and accessible during your flight. And better yet, it will help contain any leaks or sticky residues as you travel (like that medicine cup you don’t want to make a special trip to rinse out in the lavatory).

But remember!

Be sure that any formula and liquid items beyond a “reasonable amount” for your flight itinerary are in your checked baggage. For more specifics, see the TSA’s web page with details.

best travel strollers and gear for travel with babies and toddlers
BEFORE YOU GO: For more help planning and packing before your flight, see Part 5 of Travels with Baby.
ON THE GO: For on-the-go survival tips to use as you travel (ahem, soothing fussy babies in flight, keeping toddlers entertained on the go…) be sure to keep your Take-Along Travels with Baby handy at the airport and on the airplane.

Related posts: What to pack in your baby’s travel kit for carry on

You might also like:

Flying with a Baby or Toddler Advice Index

How to Travel with a Car Seat (Without Losing Your Mind)

How to Plan Your Best Vacation with Baby

Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks

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Reader’s Note: An earlier version of this post first appeared on December 3, 2012. It has since been revised and updated.

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