Your baby’s first flight can be as momentous as their first steps, first solid food, or first drop off at daycare which is why it is important for you to prepare your baby for a flight.
And like all those milestones, parents can feel understandably freaked out beforehand. No one, not even your baby themselves, knows how a child will react to being on an airplane for the first time, which is why it is important for you to prepare your baby for a flight.
But dread not—your child may love air travel, for starters—and even if they don’t, you will get through it by learning her to prepare your baby for a flight. With a little planning, the right gear, and a willingness to make many lists, flying with a baby or young kids can be easier than you think.
Bringing babies while traveling on an airplane can pose quite a challenge. Learning how to prepare your baby for a flight is key, especially if you are new at the task.
Below are some tips that may come in handy for you to prepare your baby for a flight:
- Don’t wait until the last minute
Parents or guardians should consider booking plane tickets at least one month prior to travel time. Each airline has its own policy regarding babies as passengers, as well as ticket prices, hence you will need as much time as possible to review all of the related regulations.
Booking tickets earlier will also allow you to request facilities for babies for you to prepare your baby for a flight, such as bassinet. Some carriers even provide special food for two-year-olds or above, however, you will need to make a prior reservation.
- Smart scheduling
The most convenient travel time when bringing a baby is during their sleep time. For instance, consider booking a short-distance flight during the day (when they take their nap), or a long-distance one during the night to protect the ears from hurting.
- Sit at the front
When you’re bringing a baby, sitting in the front row in front of a bulkhead near the alley is recommended. Aside from the lower noise and wider gap between seats, such a place will also ease your trip when entering and exiting the plane, as well as bringing the child to the toilet or simply standing up while carrying them when they feel bored. To prepare your baby for a flight is important.
- Bring a special bag for the baby
Other than diapers, milk and food, you should also fill the bag with their favorite toys, wet wipes and change of clothes. These are things you should do to prepare your baby for a flight.
- Pick the right clothing
The cabin of the plane can get very cold, hence, ensure the baby wears warm clothes that are also easy to take off in case you want to change their diaper or clothes or if they suddenly feel too hot.
- How to lessen ear pain
Ear pain happens not only to babies but adults as well due to the change in pressure. Consider feeding them with baby biscuits or milk or breastfeeding them exactly as the plane takes off or as it descends to land. You need to know these to prepare your baby for a flight.
- Travel with another adult
Another adult will be able to help you take care of the baby, especially when you need to go to the toilet or take a break during a long-haul flight.
- Be friendly
It’s not a crime to bring a baby when traveling by plane; you just need to prepare your baby for a flight. However, it is recommended to be friendly to other passengers, even perhaps introduce your child to them, just in case your child gets cranky and annoys other travelers.
How To Help Your Child Cope with Ear Pain on Airplanes
I remember the days of airplane travel with an infant, and then toddler, in my arms. As a mom, I worried whether my child would tolerate the airplane trip because of ear pain or whether it would be a hard trip for other passengers. After reading a study representing that 25 to 55 percent of children experience pain in their ears when traveling on airplanes and mostly during landing, I decided to read up how to prepare your baby for a flight.
I wanted to ease the worry that parents may have while learning ways to prepare your baby for a flight and to avoid ear pain during flights.
Why we Experience Ear Pain on Airplanes
It’s a hard question to answer for a lot of people and I wanted to investigate why this happens to help provide tips for your child. The middle ear experiences a mini-trauma from the pressure difference between the air in the middle ear and the outside air during take-off and landing. Adults can easily open equalize the pressure by swallowing or yawning. Children have a difficult time knowing how to equalize the pressure and help themselves by swallowing or yawning.
As a parent, you can help by learning how to prepare your baby for a flight. Here are valuable tips on helping your child cope with this potentially painful ear pressure, especially because young children have more problems with ear pain during airplane travel, than adults.
Why Kids Experience More Ear Pain, than Adults, on Airplanes and why you need to prepare your baby for a flight
- Kids experience more colds and upper respiratory infections than adults.
- Kids have more tissue in the adenoids, which is in the back of their throats that can block the ears (you may have heard that adenoids are what cause some people to snore).
- Kids are unable to swallow or yawn on command, like adults.
- The tubes in the ear that help equalize this pressure are straight in kids’ ears and does not curve and drain downward like adults.
Symptoms of Mild Ear Pain
- A feeling of ear blockage which your child may be able to verbalize
- Pain which your child may be able to tell your or your infant may cry and tug at the ears
- Hearing loss
- Severe cases can cause perforation or a tear in the tympanic membrane, which is a thin, translucent membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear. It transmits sound and is also called the eardrum.
Help Manage and Prevent Ear Pain on Airplanes
- If your child has a cold or symptoms of upper respiratory infection, avoid airplane travel.
- If the child has a cold or symptoms of upper respiratory infection and you cannot cancel air travel, make sure your child have plenty of fluids to drink prior to the flight to prepare your baby for a flight.
- When your child feels fullness in their ear when taking off or landing, give the baby a bottle and the older child juice or water to drink.
- If your child is older and can understand and cooperate, encourage them to chew on something, swallow, open the jaw or yawn at least four times during takeoff and landing.
- Smaller children can also be offered a small straw to blow through or a colorful pinwheel to blow.
- Wake up your sleeping child or baby during take-off and landings as the pain can be worse if they are allowed to sleep.
- Older children can be taught how to “bear down” which is forcefully pushing out air with the lips and nostrils closed. This forces the Eustachian tube to open. NOTE: This can cause too much pressure and pain so tell the older child to just push out a little and stop if it hurts.
- Carry a bulb syringe to clear out the nose if the child gets congested.
- If your child has a cold, you should consider seeing a doctor or treating symptoms several days before the air travel to prevent problems with ear pain. You need to know all the above-mentioned tips to prepare your baby for a flight.
You probably wonder if there are any drugs to help with ear pain. “Using medicines to help with ear pain, for children, is not recommended.”
The latest studies of drugs like pseudoephedrine and oral antihistamines have not been effective in children and there is no scientific proof for the use of these drugs to prepare your baby for a flight.