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Dr. Alan Greene on Traveling with a Baby

Question

I am going on a trip in a couple of weeks, flying with my 14-month-old. Is there anything I should do to be prepared?

Answer

When kids fly, they tend to feel ear discomfort more than adults do. When the plane is taking off and the air in the ear space expands, it usually forces its way out (the ear "pops") without much trouble. But when the plane starts to descend, and the middle ear tries to suck extra air up through the floppy eustachian tube, it doesn't work so well and the eardrum stretches inward and hurts. When kids swallow or cry, it helps the ear to pop. So giving kids something to drink -- especially during descent, but often throughout the trip -- can help.

Benadryl can be nice for some kids for the flight -- it relieves pain, makes it easier for the ears to pop, and it also makes many kids drowsy.

To keep your baby happy on the flight, something new to play with is fun. I like a "mystery box" filled with fun things to handle -- like a lemon or a hairbrush. It doesn't have to be a fancy toy, just something novel that is fun to handle or smell or look at. A safe hand mirror could be fun, too.

 

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.