Flying With Kids – A Pain in the Ear

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Here’s my latest blog for the fabulous Mumslounge. 

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I was on a flight last week where a toddler screamed hysterically from the moment passengers were told to turn off electronic devices, to the moment the plane hit the tarmac. His parents looked more and more stressed with each passing minute. They were obviously worrying about what other people were thinking, and apologised to everyone around them.

Talk to parents about flying with kids and many worry whether their child will be affected by the changes in air pressure. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that while they obviously don’t want their child to experience discomfort, the primary concern is that their little cherub will scream and sob and bother the other passengers.

It happens.

Fly enough with young children and you’re bound to have a screamer on your hands at some stage.

Here are a few tips to help reduce the risk of ear pain:

  • Breastfeed! Obviously this applies to babies and young kids.
  • Ear Planes: you can buy them at most pharmacies.
  • For older kids: chewing gum.
  • For younger kids: A bottle to suck on or some chewy food. If they have suffered quite badly in the past, then a dose of Nurofen half an hour before landing helps.
  • Get your child to yawn.
  • Wine, for you, not your kids.

If your child experiences pain and cries, don’t get stressed about it. There’s nothing you can do, and most people understand that. Also, crying helps pop the ears. Your child’s ears, not the other passengers.

If it’s really bad, call the flight attendant. Most airlines carry small capsules that let off a strong menthol smell when popped under your nose. They can alleviate the pressure.

And remember, most people do actually understand why your child is crying. Concentrate on your child, not what the other passengers are thinking.