Riding the London Tube with Babies and Toddlers

 In Destinations, Europe

There is nothing that screams London more than riding the tube to get from place to place. It’s easy, it’s efficient; what’s not to love? You get to squish next to the common man as he runs off to work and you take your family to the museum. Your adorable toddler will get to ride a train, something that makes his day no matter how many times you do it. And then he gets squashed and trampled by the flow of human traffic.

Riding the rails around London is fun, but as we learned, it can be a bit intimidating for those little ones who can’t see past your waist.

Tip #1: Carry your baby or toddler through busy stations 

After riding the London tube our first day Dek started to ask to be carried or ride in the stroller. He had insisted on walking for 4 weeks around Europe. Oh sure he got tired and wanted to ride or be held sometimes, but not at the start of our day. We made him walk until it dawned on me that maybe he was frightened. He couldn’t see ahead of him in some stations because there were so many people. I had a death grip on his hand, but he was still jostled around a bit.

Tip #2: Hold your toddler or baby on crowded trains.

Dek didn’t want to be squashed up against strangers on the train either. He wanted to be held up so he could see what was happening. I had Ty strapped in the Ergo on my chest, so I couldn’t hold him very high, but when someone offered me their seat I could squeeze Dek onto my lap, or Mike could hold Dek in his arms.

Tip #3: Eyes open on the platform

Those open platforms are very tempting to play on. Hearing the train being announced and peering over the side to catch your first glimpse is even more exciting. So exciting that your toddler may run away from you to do just that. Talk to you child about the dangers of an oncoming train and that they must stay behind the lines. Keep your kids safe, and remember to stay behind that line too.

Tip #4: Mind the Gap!

One last word of caution is more for a parent’s peace of mind than the child’s. Don’t forget to mind the gap. Dek’s foot could easily slip through, or he could trip as he entered the train. It’s inevitable. Hold onto your toddler as they climb aboard. If they start to stumble you can catch them and you both won’t get stuck in the doors as they close.

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Showing 5 comments
  • Nicole at Arrows Sent Forth

    This document shows all the step-free tube stations (meaning those with elevators or some other form of accessibility), if you happen to be navigating with a stroller and don’t want to deal with stairs.

  • Kate @Wild Tales of...

    Great tips, Keryn! Oh how I want to travel to London so badly! I could see how the tube & other subway systems can be quite scary for a toddler–babies have nothing to worry about since you’re carrying them anyway! My mom always tells the story of how my brother got on the wrong car on the NY subway (without her!)…it all turned out okay, but so scary & a good reminder to talk to kids ahead of time & make a plan.

  • Lisa Wood

    Great tips on how to travel safely in London with little ones!
    We went for a train ride into Sydney last weekend, and the gap was the first thing we thought about with our youngest and he is seven….I get a big freaky about it cause my late Grandma feel through the gap many years ago when she was travelling and broke her legs.
    We were lucky it was a weekend when we went into Sydney, normally on a business day you can’t get a seat at all, and standging room is normally very busy.
    Many years ago I visited London, but that was before kids 🙂

  • Adam at Visit Flyover Country

    We’ve travled (actually lived) in London with an infant then toddler. The Tube is so easy to navigate, even with a stroller – everyone is super nice and will help you along the way.

    That said, we found it easiest to wear the infant in our Baby Bjorn and then carry the toddler. Its gets a bit crowded with the stroller.

  • Trusted Luxury Cruises

    Great tips! Metro stations can be so chaotic, especially with kids.

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