45 answers

Airplane Travel

I'm going to be flying to San Diego with my 11 month old twins next week. We've flown with them before, but this time I'm traveling with a friend because my husband is working. They are generally pretty good boys, but the older they get, the harder they get. I asked my pediatrician if there was anything I could give them to make the trip easier on all of us...ie: Benadryl, etc..
She said, "Just pack a lot of toys & snacks" Which of course I would, but obviously she hasn't traveled in a while with small children that scream, don't want to sit in your lap, and have big time stranger danger. Does anyone out there have a good recommendation on how to make my flight easier?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

My boys have NEVER been sick. They were even exposed to a child w/ hand, foot & mouth disease and didn't get it. Long story short, my boys got a cold the morning of our flight. I ended up having to give them cold medicine. It knocked them out briefly (20 min), but they were very good while awake. I bought lots of toys (which they didn't like)and my DVD player wouldn't work. Luckily I packed massive amounts of snacks that did the trick. They sat on the VERY dirty floor(socks were filthy)and played, while remaining relatively happy. Thank you to all of you for your wondeful advice.

Featured Answers

I would suggest to step by @ Whole foods and ask their advise. They do have gentle remedies like rescue spray or dietary supplement "L-Theanine" that worked very well for me to come me down on the plane, but I don't know if it's ok for children.

Benadryl works great for my boys (3 and 19 months). They have been traveling since they were born. My 3 yr old gets motion sickness really bad so benadryl helps with that as well. I usually give it to them right before we board and they're usually settled down or asleep right after take off.

Good Luck

More Answers

They will have issues going up and going down with their ears popping, so something they can chew that is chewy will help with that. We give my toddler Starburst for that. If they are too young for Starburst, get a sippy cup that makes them SUCK and make sure it is a beverage that they don't usually get so that they will be sure to suck it down. And if you have access to a DVD player from friends or family, movies are GREAT! Go to the dollar store and buy a bunch of new toys that you bring out at the top of every hour so that they are constantly playing with something new. And since it is the dollar store, it won't cost a fortune! That should keep them occupied.

I just got off a plane Monday with my 14-mo-old (1 1/2 hour + 4 hour flights). We also flew with her at 12 mos and 11 mos (all our family is out-of-state). It's a lot of work, but you can do it! I second your pedi's recommendation--lots of toys, snacks, books, etc. Finger puppets are great at this age, since the kids want to figure out how they work. I'm usually pretty regular about feeding times, but all that's out the window on an airplane--my DD can have just as many goldfish as she wants, whenever she wants, as long as she's happy. Pack small things, and a lot of them, so you can change up activities all the time--you know 11-mo-olds have the attention spans of gnats! I'm also not usually a big one for electronic toys, but bring a couple of things with buttons to push that will makes noises and lights--that will hold their attention longer than most things (my dd has a fisher price "cell phone" that's a travelling standard). If possible, bring toys and books that are either new, or that your kids haven't seen for a while, to add to the novelty. Bring pacis and bottles to help with the ears--have them suck away during take-off and landing. Sing, play patty-cakes, head-shoulders-knees-and-toes, and everything else you can imagine. While at altitude with smooth going, my DD will actually sit on the floor at my feet and play--I'll sit cross-legged, or put my feet in my husband's lap. When the real itches set in, take them for a walk up and down the aisle. As for the benedryl, I've used it for older kids (3 and 5) while a nanny (I flew on vacations with the family), but DO NOT use it on your kids if you never have before--according to my BFF, who's a pedi, Benedryl knocks out about 70% of kids, but makes the other 30% hyper. You do NOT want to discover that your DS is in that 30% on an airplane! And finally, make sure that everyone is well-rested before you start the trip--my DD never sleeps well on a plane, but Monday did not sleep AT ALL. She fell asleep as soon as we got in the car, and I was sound asleep by 8:30! Good luck! It's a long day, but you'll be fine!

Our flight leaves tomorrow at 5:45 AM! Crayola makes large crayons that are triangluar for a tripod grip, I bought them so they won't roll away! I also bought Crayola markers that have a lid that slides around to the back slide because they do not roll and no lost lid. Just don't forget the paper. Target has small notebooks in the dollar spot right now.

According to TSA's website babies and toddlers can travel with formula, breast milk, and juice above 3 oz. (I am wondering about regular milk. I'm worried if any airport stores are open a 4:30 in the morning.)


H.--benadryl works but I'd try it out before you travel with both kids. Sometimes it works to "hype up" children. When we traveled with my son I used the sticker idea and it worked. Also, you can find soft toys like letter puzzles that will helps with distraction and won't hurt a passenger if thrown. Buy a few toys--doesn't have to be expensive--and introduce one at a time. I assume your boys aren't walking yet but when they do, I bought the monkey backpack with tail. I know a lot of mom's don't like the idea but I believe it was more important for me to always keep my child close to me in the airport but allow him to walk and move--opposed to what it looked like. My son loved it and thought he was so "big boy" with a monkey on his back (helped with bathroom trips). I saw several other children with the backpack/leash. Good luck!

I am surprised to see that people drug up their kids to stay calm in the airplane and think it is ok. I travelled with my boy since he was 6 weeks old and we had good and bad flights, that's just how it is. Every flight was different, but there are other solutions than giving your kid drugs to be calm. I always packed lots of snacks they usually don't get like smarties and also I bought some new toys for the flight, that would keep them occupied.
Sorry, but I read that all the time here that moms give their children Benadryl or Tylenol to be calm. I don't have any problem giving my children medicine when they are sick, but to give them something when they are not sick, so I have it easier has never crossed my mind.

We have traveled a lot with our twins and I know how difficult it is and how active they are! One time I called the nurse helpline at my pedi's office and she had some good ideas so you could try that. She suggested I bring small toys and wrap them. I got slinky's and those little plastic tonka cars. She said it would take a while for them to unwrap the gift and then there would be a toy to play with. But I'm not sure if your boys are old enough for this yet. Another idea she had was to bring tape for them to play with. I would also wait as long as possible to get on the plane. As far as food, maybe bring something new that you are pretty sure they will like b/c this could hold their attention for longer. Good luck!

We are going out of town next week also and it will the first plane ride for our 22 month old. I asked my Pedi yesterday and he strongly suggested Benadryl about 30 min. before we board. Sounds like you have a conservative pediatrician. I would call and just ask the nurse to verify for you the correct dosage in the event you need it for "allergies" while you are out of town. That way you will know the dosage and can you use it if you feel it's necessary. I remember when my son was that age the dosage was 1/4 tsp. every 6 hours. I will be using it next week for sure because he is SOOO active and will not sit still for a minute. I don't want any of us to be miserable and esp. not the people around us. Sure don't want to be on the news for being kicked off a plane for an unruly child. LOL!! Good luck and have a safe flight!

My little one liked to peel off stickers and place them on the airplane tray tables. When the sticker page was empty then he moved the stickers from one tray table to the other! This activity (which uses a lot of fine motor skills) took up half our flight time! Also board books and coloring books. Games like peek-a-boo, where's my nose (ear, eyes, hair, etc.), and patty cake are long-time favorites. You also might want to bring a couple paci's, blankies & sippy cups in case they decide to fall asleep. Have a great trip!!!

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