Can You Have Toys with Batteries in Checked Baggage?

Can You Have Toys with Batteries in Checked Baggage?

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Air travel regulations can sometimes feel like a complicated maze. What’s considered safe or not is often a source of confusion, especially when it comes to packing.

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not it’s okay to have toys with batteries in your checked baggage, this article is for you.

Can You Have Toys with Batteries in Checked Baggage?

The simple answer to this question is: Yes, you can. However, as with many things related to air travel, it’s not quite as straightforward as it seems. There are rules and regulations you must follow.

Batteries are essential components of many toys, but they can also pose a risk when transported improperly.

Why? Because batteries, particularly lithium batteries, can catch fire if damaged or short-circuited. As a result, aviation safety organizations around the world have set guidelines to minimize this risk.

Generally speaking, most toys with batteries use alkaline or nickel-metal hydride batteries, which are considered safe to pack in your checked luggage.

An example of a nickel hydride battery
What the normal alkaline or nickel-metal hydride batteries look like

But if your child’s toy uses a lithium battery, things become a bit more complicated.

Lithium batteries, found in items like laptops, smartphones, and certain toys, can only be packed in carry-on luggage under current international flight regulations.

If your child’s toy uses a lithium battery, it must go in your carry-on, not in your checked luggage.

In addition, loose or spare batteries should also be carried in your carry-on. They must be protected against short circuits, which can be achieved by keeping them in their original packaging, using a battery case, or by taping over the terminals.

Lastly, keep in mind that regulations may vary from one airline to another, and some may have more restrictive policies.

It’s always a good idea to check with your airline before you pack. Doing so will not only ensure your safety but also help you avoid any potential headaches at the airport.

What are Some examples of Toys with Batteries that can’t be in checked luggage?

As mentioned before, lithium batteries, particularly spare or loose ones, are often the culprits behind restrictions. Lithium batteries can, under certain circumstances, overheat and catch fire. Hence, the airlines’ caution.

an example of lithium batteries
What lithium batteries look like

A notable example is a remote-controlled (RC) toy, like a car or a drone, with a removable lithium battery.

If you can’t protect the battery from accidental activation or damage, you’ll need to carry it in your hand luggage, or better yet, leave it at home.

“Smart” toys are also some good examples.

Today’s market is filled with intelligent, interactive toys that use lithium-ion batteries, such as advanced robotic toys or interactive learning devices.

These also fall under the same category as RC toys when it comes to air travel.

Similarly, hoverboards, electric skateboards, and self-balancing scooters, popular with older kids, are typically powered by large lithium batteries.

These items are generally not allowed in checked luggage and may even be prohibited from carry-on luggage on many airlines due to their high fire risk.

But remember, these rules can vary by airline and even by country. It’s always a good idea to reach out to your airline before packing. A quick phone call or email can save you a lot of hassle.

Other things you need to know when Carrying Toys while Traveling

Traveling with toys, whether battery-operated or not, involves a few additional considerations beyond the basic battery rules.

One major factor is the toy’s size. No matter how much your child loves their life-size teddy bear or enormous Lego set, oversized toys can be a hassle to carry and might exceed airline luggage size restrictions.

Consider bringing smaller, travel-friendly toys instead.

Next is noise. Yes, that musical instrument toy or talking robot might keep your child entertained, but it could also be a disturbance to fellow passengers.

Try to bring toys that are quiet or have a headphone jack to keep the peace during your journey.

Furthermore, remember that security scanners at airports can see everything inside your bags.

If a toy looks suspicious under X-ray — for example, anything with significant wiring or electronics — it could cause unnecessary delays and security checks. It’s another point to consider when deciding which toys to pack.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, yes, you can generally pack toys with batteries in your checked luggage, but conditions apply, especially for toys with lithium batteries. Ensure you check the type of battery your toy uses and your airline’s specific rules to avoid any unpleasant surprises at the airport.

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