Traveling By Airplane

Traveling by Airplane With Young Children


  • Benadryl - Many parents ask about giving Benadryl to their child before a flight to promote rest and sleep. This is not necessary. Benadryl does not necessarily cause a child to sleep or sit quietly. In fact, it may cause a child to be hyper and/or irritable. With proper preparation, your child should have a quiet and enjoyable flight. Make sure your child is well rested prior to travel.
  • If your child has a known history of motion sickness, call our office for guidelines and/or medication recommendations before you travel.
  • Be sure to pack enough formula and diapers to last 24 hours. Many times, unexpected delays can occur when flying, and most airports do not have these items available. Be sure to pack any prescription or over-the-counter medications in your carry-on luggage.
  • To occupy and entertain your child, bring books and toys. Include their favorites plus a new item or two. Be sure to bring toys that are quiet and will not become easily lost if dropped. Don't forget a favorite blanket or stuffed animal.
  • Bring a covered cup for younger children as the drink cups on the airplanes are usually too big and awkward for little hands.
  • If possible, request a seat beside an empty seat. This will allow more room for diaper changes and carry-on items. Avoid seats that are behind the bulkhead (the wall separating first class and coach). Although there is more legroom in this area, there is no place to stow your carry-on luggage or diaper bag except in the overhead bin. This makes it difficult to retrieve needed items during most of the flight.


  • Most airlines will allow children under 2 years to sit on their parent's lap. If you are flying with a lap child, please be sure he is on your lap and securely held by you at all times. Be sure you are wearing your seat belt at all times during the flight.
  • If the child has his own seat assigned, be sure his seat belt is properly adjusted and buckled at all times. A car seat may also be used as long as it can be secured by the airplane's seat belt. A child should never be allowed out of his seat belt or car seat unless it is absolutely necessary. Air turbulence is often unexpected, and passengers properly restrained in their seats will avoid serious injury.

Ear problems

The change in air pressure inside the airplane during take-off, landing and altitude changes may cause some ear discomfort. Occasionally this pain can be brief and intense, but usually it only causes the inner ears to feel "clogged." Yawning, chewing, drinking, nursing or sucking a bottle may eliminate this "clogged" feeling. It is recommended to have an infant nurse or suck a bottle and have a cup of water for younger children to drink during take-off and landing. You may also teach toddlers and younger children to yawn if their ears feel clogged. If your child has a lot of nasal congestion, a decongestant administered about 1-2 hours prior to take-off may help decrease the severity of the ear discomfort. Please call our office for a recommended product and dose of decongestant for infants and toddlers.