16 answers

4 Month Old Flying with a Cold?

My 4 month old just came down with a cold - it's a runny nose on one side and an occassional cough. Our neighbor takes care of him twice a week and Monday her 2 year old had a runny nose (she didn't tell us until my husband dropped him off and even though we kept him home the next day, the first day was enough to expose him apparently). Tuesday night I sensed he was getting a bit stuffed up. My husband didn't notice and neither did my mom who took care of him yesterday morning. Yesterday afternoon he went to the doctor for his 4 month check-up and got his immunizations. When I got home at 6pm, he had a bit of a runny nose on one side. That persisted through the night although he slept well and has been eating normally.

Here's the big issue - we're supposed to fly on Sunday morning for a vacation. I'm going to call the Pediatrician, but am also looking for feedback from you moms about when to/not to fly with an infant with a cold. Have you done it, have you cancelled, what has been your experience?

Thanks in advance for any info.

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More Answers

I have flown when my little guy had a very slight a cold (stuffy nose, pretty much) and it was fine - I nursed on the way up and way down, and he seemed no more bothered by the experience than he would be otherwise. I'm sure your doctor will have some good advice for you. Good luck!

Take one of those nose suction things and use it if he seems to be very plugged upped. Nurse him or have him suck on something during the take up and landing. That will help alot.

I've flown sick with problems and without.

Sounds like your doing the right stuff. Have your ped check his ears, and see if there's a decongestant your Doc can prescribe or recommend for the flight. Also get the correct doseage for tylenol or ibuprofen. If you have the time "test" his reaction to any new drugs saturday.

Worst case scenario for flying with sick kids: If your son is recognizably ill you may not be allowed to board. Similarly, esp. if you're leaving the country, if your son is very sick when you land you may not be allowed to disembark, or could have the whole plane put in quarantine.

Is the worst case likely? No. Your son would have to be REALLY sick to have that happen.

Most likely the cold will self resolve by sunday.

In the middle ground: regardless of whether or not the cold has gone, & regardless of whether or not your doc has given you a decongestant for him, make sure you have a bottle for him (or are prepared to nurse) during takeoff and landing, and infant tylenol or advil helps too.

C., please ask your pediatrician. We gave our little ones Benadryl (under doctor's advice, of course), but that was seven years ago, and I'm sure things have changed. Poor baby! Maybe he'll be better by Sunday. It's still a couple of days off. If you go, just be prepared for some serious crying. And be ready to offer lots of comfort. Good luck.

Shouldn't be an issue if there is only minor congestion, no fever or ear infection or very active cough (since the dry air aggrevates). Your ped will provide good input of course, but as you can see from the mom's comments, we've all done it at one time or another! That's just the way it goes with the little ones sometimes. Be prepared for lots of runny noses over the years! I have only been "grounded" when my daughter got a mild case of croup. Apparently you should not fly with that condition since it is aggrevated by the air quality and you cannot provide relief measures (e.g., steam or really cold air) and access emergency care in case it is required.

i just flew twice with my son this week with a cold. he had the same symptoms, but he is older - 9 1/2 mos. i made sure he would be hungry at takeoff and landing and either BF or bottlefed him and he did great both ways. keeping his head high seems to help keep the congestion from draining down into his nose as much.

unless it gets worse, if you have a direct flight it probably won't be too bad. if you have multiple takeoff/landings it can be more difficult to time feedings/get lucky with no crying.

one thing i did on the first takeoff was feed him too soon so he stopped before we were at the final cruising altitude. the second time i waited to start til the plane actually lifted off. my pediatrician recommended giving him tylenol, which i did as soon as we boarded the plane.

good luck!

-- of course you are exhausted , dear heart---
'''takes 9 months to make a baby, takes 9 months to win back to where you were'''
A quote from my grandmother--- who had 4 children- all born at home- all nursed til they weaned to a cup - AND was Phi Betta Kappa - from the U of Oregon in 1914!!-- . Dont expect yourself to be Superwoman 24/7 -.

Babies seem to do pretty well-- and your pediatrican or the nurse can advise you more specifically-. With a slight cold aggravated ( possibly) by immunizations - your baby sounds really healthy not to have had more of a reaction-.

Many, Many blessings - and I hope your trip is much fun.

Old Mom
aka- J.

I flew with my son when he was only 3 1/2 months old and he had a nasty cold. I kept a small saline solution bottle handy and a nose bulb to keep his airway as clear as possible because there's nothing like a screaming infant who can't readjust the pressure in his head after take off and during landing because of sinus issues. At the gate I showed them my medicine is was only a one ounce bottle so they let me take it. It made a big difference. Also, I made sure that about 1/2 hour before we left I gave him some tylenol, it really helped.

The same thind happened too me,
and i also called the dr. And was told to make sure you keep a bottle in their mouth ,they need to be sucking!!!!
Just as if they were chewing gum!!!
P.s. It worked my daughter is 18 now
good luck and have fun

The only thing I would add to these ideas is to use saline drops for the nose along with the bulb syringe, much more effective. And TOTALLY agree with the nursing on take off and landing. Babies usually do better than we do.
Happy Flying!

As a Mom and an ER Physician I would suggest that you have your pediatrician look at you son before you get on a plane. Little kids have a sharp angle where their auditory tube joins the middle ear and when they have colds or upper respiratory infections it tends to swell and make draining the ear (and equalizing pressures) very difficult. If his ears are at all inflammed I would post pone your flights as he will be miserable during take off and landing and his ears will be very painful. Sam

It is fine to fly with a cold. and your son was probably exposed to the cold long before monday. kids get colds and a lot of them no big deal.

I have flown with both of my kids, one when she was just 1 1/2 months old and the other when she was 11 months. I can remember specifically when we took my older daughter that she had a similar cold. I was worried about a sinus infection/ear infection with flying so I took her in before we left just to be sure. My doctor said with a cold it was fine, but I'd be cautious if they have a sinus or ear infection because of the pressure. We were told to try and have her sucking on something when we went up and down so I tried best I could to time her feedings around that. Or we made sure and gave her a pacifier. It probably wouldn't hurt to use saline and suck the snot before you take off to ease the pressure too. Good Luck! We have flown with both of ours now twice and it's been a great experience.
Hope this helps!
A. :-)

Hi C.,

Double-check with your ped that it's OK for your son to fly. Maybe get his ears checked too. Ears not clearing are the biggest problem that flying with a cold can cause. And even with that, my pediatrician recommended giving some Benadryl about 20 minutes before take-off, and if the timing allows it, about 20 minutes before landing. Of course, if it's a short flight, don't do the 2nd dose too quickly. The other thing is you'll want to try out the Benadryl first. Some kids it makes drowsy, but some kiddos get "wired" by Benadryl. Of course, check with your ped first--I'm not sure about giving Benadryl to an infant under 6 months.

I cancelled a flight when my son was 14 months, and went a couple days later when he was clearly on the mend. He didn't have much congestion, but was running a fever over 104. Luckily it worked for our vacation to do delay our arrival by a couple days. Even with his fever, the ped didn't tell me to not fly. She just checked his ears and tested for strepp, and when both were negative, she said it was up to me whether I wanted to travel with a sick infant.

Also, your son just might start feeling better before you know it. It seemed to me that infants can be completely sick one day and bounce back to normal the next.

Good luck! I know it can be a tough call, but consult your doctor and trust your instincts.

I've gone ahead and flown, w/o trouble. He wasn't really congested at that point. More of a cough. And the Pedia checked his ears first.

I flew from Sevilla, Spain to Portland....on 3 legs...my daughter was 6 months. We were coming back from a wedding and she got a cold, my husband had a cold and I got the same cold on the flights back. It was about the worst experience I have EVER had in my life. Sorry to say, but it is the most painful thing to have your head full of snot and pressurizing in the air. It feels like your head is going to explode and you can't hear. It is awful. Also, you want your baby to be sucking in some fashion (whether it is breastfeeding, sucking on a pacifier, etc.) as you ascend and descend, for their ears. If they can't breathe when they suck, then it is almost impossible to have them continuously suck. We were going to fly straight home from Sevilla, but after we landed in Miami, we changed our ticket (because the airlines were very accomodating due to major illness of an infant), and we stayed there overnight in a hotel in the airport. We spent way too much extra money in the end, but having that extra night without changing so many times about saved my sanity a little. I was out $200 for the hotel room. But looking back it was a worthwhile $200. So, in short (or long by now) if you can change the vacation, or delay in any way, I HIGHLY SUGGEST IT. Because infants that are 4 months are much more suseptible to diseases and when they have a cold their immue system is compromised. I wouldn't take the chance of a trip from _ell...and putting your child in jeopardy of getting a worse illness. Shots don't prevent every kind of terrible disease, like pnemonia. Shots only prevent perhaps a strand of that disesase anyway. Anyhoo....good luck to you, but there's my 2 cents.

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