The Brilliant TikTok Hack That Will Help Your Toddler Nap On Long Flights

Sleeping on a plane can be hard, and it's even more challenging if you're traveling with a toddler. If they don't sleep, neither do you. In addition to packing noise-canceling headphones and a neck pillow for yourself, it's crucial to prepare your little one's sleep environment for when naptime strikes at 30,000 feet in the air.

Unfortunately, you probably can't bring your child's cozy crib along on the flight, but you can create a plane-friendly alternative with a simple hack, courtesy of @travelfamilyacademy on TikTok. The parents behind the account are familiar with jet-setting with small children and often pack a small travel bed or seat extender to help their toddlers snooze during flights. But when an airline didn't allow the family's usual sleep aids, the TikTokers got creative and came up with a hack that anyone could recreate. To steal the hack, all you'll need is an adult-sized jacket or sweater and a standard airplane seat.

Make a plane bed with a sweater or blanket

Once you're settled into your airline seats and it's time to get your child comfy for naptime, grab your jacket or sweater and use it to create a makeshift bed. In the TikTok clip by @travelfamilyacademy, the article of clothing is first partially tucked into the seat pocket in front of the toddler. The fabric should be tucked securely enough so it doesn't easily slip out. Then, the item is stretched and tucked under the toddler's legs, acting almost as a hammock to keep their feet elevated. The result: a DIY bed that gives your little one more space to stretch out their footsies and feel almost as comfortable as they would in their crib.

When scrolling through TikTok, you'll find other iterations of the hack, proving how easy and customizable it is, depending on what you have stashed in your carry-on bag. For instance, content creator @travelswithrachel used a blanket instead of a sweater or jacket, securing it into the front seat pocket and around the back of the child's seat. Even if the toddler moved, the "bed" likely wouldn't budge.

Safety points to keep in mind

While this TikTok hack could be the trick to getting your toddler to sleep on a flight, it's a good idea to check with your airline first to ensure it won't pose any safety issues. In a Sydney Morning Herald article, Trevor Bock, an aviation expert and training and safety auditor, explained why tray tables must be up during takeoff and landing in case there's an emergency evacuation. "It's important that the person sitting by the window can get out," Bock explained. Similar to your seat tray, a makeshift bed could become a safety hazard. Ask a flight attendant before trying the hack, and be prepared to clear your aisle during landing.

Weight limits are another point to keep in mind. According to a 2009 document released by the Federal Aviation Administration, plane seat pockets are designed to hold only up to three pounds of weight. "If a seat pocket fails to restrain its contents, the contents of the seat pocket may impede emergency evacuation or may strike and injure a passenger," the document states. Therefore, be mindful when tucking blankets and other items inside. If your toddler requires extra support, the pocket may not be strong enough and could break.

Finally, don't forget to buckle up. Even if your child is snoozing horizontally, you'll likely be asked to put on their seat belt throughout the flight. To avoid waking your sleepy toddler, make sure to strap them in before they doze off.