Many parents know all too well the angry stares, tuts and rude comments made by fellow passengers, when their baby just refuses to stop crying on a long haul flight.
And while tears and tantrums are to be expected from infants, one Sydney mum decided to try and make flying with babies just a little bit smoother.
Speaking to news.com.au, high school teacher Emma Lovell said she first came up with the idea after having to fly to the UK from Australia to visit her sick mum with her young baby.
“I think the worst thing is the fear of what other people are going to think — that takes over from the concern of why your baby’s crying in the first place,” she said.
“You’re trying to comfort the baby but you’re mostly worried about the huffing and puffing from people who A, have no children, B, have left their kids at home, or C, have grown-up children and have completely forgotten how hard it is to travel with a baby.
“So many people are very judgmental and there’s very few of those looks that are sympathetic. It’s mostly glares from people that seem to say, ‘Feed it, or kill it’.”
Emma says her daughter is actually a good traveller, but the travel cots airlines provide have to sit near high traffic areas on the plane, such as near the toilets or food prep areas, so the disruptions are endless for the poor bubs.
“I used to do all these things, rigging up sheets and blankets with tape to cover her, and they’d start to work and then fail miserably,” she said.
And so Fly Babee was born - a foldable, lightweight canopy device that attaches to airline bassinets to help block out distractions.
“It provides a really lovely, cosy dome that blocks out 97 per cent of light and it’s 100 per cent breathable and air permeate — it essentially allows air to flow as if it wasn’t there. It’s got a rainbow opening so you can get baby in without taking it off, plenty of kick space and a little peephole to check up on them,” Emma explains.
“There’s also a little pocket inside for your iPad or phone so you can play lullabies or whatever you use at home. It’s just a really simple fix to a really common problem.”
The product, which costs $99.95 (Aus dollar) to purchase, has been approved for use on some Qantas (economy and premium economy on B747 and A380 aircrafts, plus economy on the A330 aircrafts) and Virgin Australia (A330 and B777) flights.
Emma has also won several awards for the invention and her website is filled with positive feedback:
“Flew from Sydney to Edinburgh this year with fly babee. The difference compared to our flight last year was night and day... Baby got some sleep this time, so parents also managed a little snooze. Excellent product.” – Charles M
”I was so glad I discovered the fly babee. Our baby slept almost 14 hours over 2 flights. I had been dreading the flight but the fly babee made the trip so much easier!” – Natalie G
“I thought that I would predominantly use the fly babee on the flight however I have used it nearly every day of our holidays on the pram also.... A fantastic investment!!” = Lee D
“Thank you! The fly babee is hands down the best baby product I have ever bought! My very distractable 11 month old struggles to stay asleep in the car for more than 30 mins normally. With the fly babee on her car seat she managed over 2 hours!
It is so well designed - keeps the shade she so desperately needs for sleep safely away from her face. Breathable, easy to fold back into the packet and fits over basically anything.
Thank you!” – Victoria A
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