40 answers

Benadryl to Help Sleep During Flight?

I am taking a flight that leaves right at bedtime for my 7 month old. I have had a few moms suggest giving him Benadryl to help him sleep through the flight. I am wondering what other moms think?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I spoke with our pediatrician. They advised me to see how the flight on the way there goes without giving any Benadryl. If it is awful, try giving a dose first at naptime to make sure my child does not get hyper instead of tired. Then, go ahead and give it to him for the flight home.

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Never!!!!!! Medicines are for when children need them not because you want them to sleep! There are times we all would like our children to sleep but we don't drug them!!!! Take a different flight if you need to. What if he has a bad reaction to the drug? How would you feel then? If you think this is a good idea, call yor doctor and ask him. I am sure I know what he will say. Suck it up and deal with it. You booked the flight.
Of course if it is for ear pressure and the doctor recommends it. I am talking about doing it just so your child will sleep. Two different things!

1 mom found this helpful

When using Benadryl, you will be introducing a drug called Diphenhydramine into your infants system. It is an antihistamine. As with all antihistamines, some people get sleepy during it's use. However, some become hyperactive. You will not know its impact on a particular person/child until you try it.

At of today, the FDA has approved the over-the-counter use of this drug for children at least six years old. There are other safe uses for this drug under the supervision of a Pediatrician (we were told to give it to my 12 month old when he broke out in hives from an allergic reaction to Amoxicilian.)

Other than this information, everything else is speculative or personal opinion. Perhaps you should contact your Pediatrician for an opinion. But only you will know what's right for you and your child.

1 mom found this helpful

I have traveled many times with my three kids and have never had to medicate them. Even on trips to England (8 hour flight), I wouldn't give my kids something they didn't need. My kids always fall asleep to the sound of the plane and usually during take off if it's close to nap or bedtime. I just keep a sippy cup or bottled water close by in case their ears pop during take off or landing.

My little one first transatlantic flight was when she was 3 months old, she 18 months and has travel twice to Europe as well as within the US, I never gave her anything for the flight, keep in mind that Benadryl can actually have a reverse reaction and make your little one totally hiper. I suggest that you take books, snacks and new and interesting small toys for him to play and he will probably just be interested in looking at all the new faces.
Do not worry I think it is more the parents worry than anything else.
Good luck I have done it many times (even by myself) and it is OK.

Absolutely not! Aside from being unnecessary, new studies show that giving children under age 3 or 4 any over the counter cold medicine can have adverse effects and also that they just don't help relieve symptoms. You should never give your infant any medicine without consulting with your pediatrician first anyway. How would know what the correct dosage is? I think that if mothers are suggesting this to you, you should look for advice from another pool of moms : ) Most babies sleep well on airplanes because of the hum of the engines. Nurse or give your baby a bottle.

If you have a carrier, I would say no. My kids have never had any problems sleeping at that age. And I think most doctors would have a fit if they knew you were going to medicate your child just so the little one will sleep. Take it and if things get hairy, then give it because it will take affect very quickly......but be absolutely certain of the dose for your child's weight at that time.

Yes, Benadryl is wonderful for flights! My husband and I have been using this for our daughter every time we fly. Helping the kids sleep is really just an added benefit - the main use when flying is because it helps keep their ears clear and help with the "popping" during flight. Good luck and have fun on your trip!

I would talk to your ped b4 giving any meds. The thing that I've found to work the best is having something for them to suck on during take off and landing - whether it's a bottle or a pacifier - the sucking helps to open the ears which can be painful during take off and landing due to the pressure changes. Typically the motion of the plane makes them sleepy and once you get to cruising altitude without tears you should be OK. If you can feel your ear pressure changing, so can the baby and they don't know what's going on so be ready with something to suck on at all times in case the pilot has to go above or below clouds and change altitude. Good luck!

Benadryl is no longer advised for young children. The Food and Drug Administration advises against using for children under 2, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against using for children under 6 and Public Citizen advises against using for children under 12. In rare instances little children can have serious reactions (even fatal reactions) to it and a variety of other medications. It really isn't worth it. Also for some children it makes them hyper (exactly what you don't want). I have flown a lot with my little one, generally to Ireland which is an 8 hr flight overnight and 8 hr daytime flight back. Frequently, children will sleep especially if it is close to their bed time. Either nurse or give baby a bottle as you are taking off to help their ears. Good luck.

Ask the Ped, I am not in favor of drugging the infants!


hi they have these teething tablets that disolve on the baby tounge, they are by Hylands they are homeopathic. sold at walgreens or osco. they relax the child they worked for our 6 month old on the plane.

I think you've already gotten some good feedback on this issue, but I'd like to add a little bit. I think we always have to be practical as parents. Many babies will just sleep on flights if it's during their sleep time and I think you should see if you have one of those kids. If you don't then using benadryl might be useful. I'm generally on the side of not medicating kids unless necessary, but if it turns out that you have a baby that won't sleep on a 4 hour nighttime flight -- I would consider that necessary. It's important to consult your doctor for proper dosing amounts, however. As mentioned, having bottles to suck on at takeoff and (especially) landing is very important. Also layer the clothing so your baby will be comfortable whatever the temp on the plane. Also important: bring a change of clothes on the plane and a couple more diapers than you think you need. (both of my kids peed a lot when we flew, plus you want to be prepared for delays, etc.) Good luck ;-)

If you are going to try to use the Benedryl--you have to use it at home first, in case your child has the opposite effect (which happened with my daughter) I then went on an international flight w/out anything but a dvd player, book & toys (the flight was also delayed & I had a connecting flight with a 3 hour wait in between. My daughter did just fine. Some travelers swear by the Benedryl--you can also try some Tylenol or Motrin (after 6 months). I didnt use anything, & everything went great, but not the case with all the younger travelers on board. Make sure they are drinking at take-off & landing to relieve the pressure in their ears. Good Luck & enjoy your trip!

I think you should ask your pediatrician before giving your baby any medicine for a purpose that is not medical. He/She may say it is fine but I would ask first. A.

Just my opinion but the fact he isn't a year yet I would use extreme caution with benadryl at 7 months. Also consider that Benadryl can have the opposite affect in some kids, well at least it did in mine! I found this out when he had some seasonal alleries or so I thought and couldn't breathe and was just miserable. He was about 18 months and I used the baby kind with the proper dosage, and it was a horrible experience. He could not fall asleep and every time he did (about 20-30 minutes) he would wake up screaming shortly after and this continued all night. He had never done this before and hasn't since so I'm pretty sure it was the Benadryl. I will never give it again. If you are going to try it, I would test it first in a very low dose at home.


Before you blindly take this advice, do you know how your child reacts to Benadryl? I ask because we took this advice in August when we flew to Colorado with my 2-year old...and the Benadryl had the exact OPPOSITE effect on him. He was wired the whole trip, didn't take a nap, and was a BEAR the entire rest of the day. If you know that Benadryl knocks your child out, then it's not likely to hurt. But if you're not sure, it might be best to just see how the flight goes without it.

Good luck!

I tried it with my daughter (who was almost 7 mos. old at the time) on a 10-hour overseas flight. It didn't seem to have much affect, but then again, she has not historically been a very good sleeper.

I talked to the pediatrician before giving it to her. She recommended trying it once before the trip to make sure it didn't make her more awake (apparently some kids react that way). I would also check in with your Dr. about the dosage. I think it's 1/4 teaspoon for that age, but I'm no expert.

If it's a short flight, you'll probably be okay without it, but if it's long, I recommend you try it (especially if it's at bedtime). Our flight also had little bassinets which would have been more helpful if our daughter hadn't been mobile enough to climb out of hers.

Have a great trip!

First of all Benedryl is not a cold medicine, its an allergy med, and does not fall under the FDA warnings. Second the FDA warnings are because the cold meds out today have acetomenophin(tylenol)n and most people also give tylenol as a supplement causing an overdose. A 1/2 dose of Benedryl on a flight is perfectly safe, and helps their ears too. I generally only give my kids Tylenol and teething tabs when we fly, though most moms I know use Benedryl (one is a pharmecist, and BIL is an anesthesiologist). Just like most people give their babies something before shots (Tylenol/Motrin), people also give their kids meds before a flight in anticipation of ear pressure pain. The Pressure on a childs ears is fairly high, and honestly hurts worse than shots. I was unable to val salva till I was ten, and I remember how my head felt like it was goign to explode. There is also something to using the benedryl for this purpose where it somehow alleviates this pressure better, and the added bonus is a drowsy baby. It's your choice. Do what makes you comfortable.

In response to the previous posters reply...I did ask my ped, and was told that it was fine. He actually suggested Benedryl over tylenol. This is a question that comes up often and most of my friends who have asked their docs have gotten the same reply. its fine, if you're comfortable

I think it depends on your child. We have flow with our child 13 times since he was born. At 7 months, he was a breeze because he wanted to be held the whole time. He ended up going to sleep on his own every flight anyway. The really hard years are once they start walking and don't understand that they can't be up the entire time. I say take it just in case, but you may not need it. If he's a trainwreck on the plane, do yourself, your baby and the passengers a favor and give a dose. (And this is coming from a mom who doesn't believe in regular dosing of needless medication.)

Have a good flight,

Hi! I've flown several times with my kids and have personally never given them Benadryl. I HAVE given them infant Tylenol, which seems to work pretty well. If it doesnt make them sleep, it will at least calm them. Since you're flying at bedtime, your 7 month old should be tired anyways. My best advice is see how he/she does on the plane FIRST and go from there. If he isn't sleeping and is cranky/loud, etc. THEN give him something. It doesnt take long for the medicine to get into their system and take effect. And, whatever you bring to give him, make sure you have given it to him before because some medicines have the opposite effect on kids and instead of making them tired, causes them to become 'wired'. That's why I always stuck with Tylenol since I used it several times for teething and after shots. Good luck!


I flew with my little girl when she was three months old and she did great with no medication. I made sure she had her paci and a bottle and she did great.
If you are flying with your son as a lap baby, I would think you wouldn't need the meds.....If he's comfortable, he'll go to sleep on his own.

I would be careful about using Benadryl to help sleep unless you have seen your child's reaction to it before. It made my son when he was very young completely wired and hyper not the affect you are going for on a flight. It is best not to be surprised when you are on a plane and connot do anything about it. Good Luck!

Don't medicate. Taking medications for reasons other than what they are intended is very dangerous! Your son will probably sleep through the flight, just like he would a car ride. He may start off a bit fussy because he's tired and not in his crib or whatever, but he'll adjust. The only other thing to do is change your flight and not schedule any future flights when you know he's going to want to sleep. By the way, Benedryl doesn't put my daughter to sleep. I take anything with an anti-histamine in it, and I'm out for hours! My daughter, on the other hand, behaves as if she just drank some water or something. For some kids, this makes them hyper and even jittery. So beware!


I would listen to the moms who said ask your pediatrician. He/she may tell you it is OK. Afterall, if he had an allergic reaction to something, they would tell you to give it to him. A pharmacist can tell you what the correct dose is for his weight. I actually had a nurse practioner tell me to give it to my young son when he was around 1 year to help him sleep when he was very sick with a head cold. You could always try it at home first to see how he reacts. ( if your peds says it is OK to give). Just curious, are you getting him his own seat? If not, I would suggest bringing a pillow so he can sleep on your lap more comfortably. I nursed my kids on take off and landing when they were little so I always brought a pillow with me.

If your flight is right at bedtime, you have done a great job in scheduling a flight that will help you facilitate travel with your baby.

I have traveled with my babies many times on planes and have NEVER given them Benadryl. At that age for their ears during take off I always had success with making sure they were on a bottle right when the place took off and for a few minutes after stabilizing in the air, same with landing. I found the motion and noise of the plane made both of my kids very sleepy, including to and from Calfornia from Chicago, without Benadryl.

The last time this included my THREE YEAR OLD who slept on the plane with no drugs and no bottle. This is just me. I hate giving them something if they don't need it, medically. Best of luck to you and have a great trip!

Call your pediatrician and see what they think. I'm thinking it's not something they would want you to do.

Good luck.

Do not do it!! It will most likely have the opposite effect on your baby and make him/her hyper instead. I would recommend altering the nap schedule so that your baby is as well rested as possible before the flight and just plan on trying to entertain them. If they are over-tired it may be hard to fall asleep in a strange, noisy environment like a plane. If they are rested and comfortable, the high altitude is likely to put them to sleep anyway. My husband works for the airlines and I have taken at least 100 flights by myself with my 3 kids - I swear I know what I'm talking about!! Good luck!

I recently took my one-year old to Australia--lots of time on a plane! So many people told me to give her benadryl, but that just didn't sit right with me. I really don't think that giving a little baby medicine just to make him/her sleep is the right thing to do. At any rate she did fine on every flight without it. There were also babies of all ages on every flight we took and everyone seemed to do well. I'm sure they had moments of fussiness (mine sure did) but the plane was so loud that it is really hard to hear anything outside of our own little area. I was still nursing and that helped my daughter relax and fall asleep. I'm sure that if you nurse or give formula your little one will fall asleep on his own. I don't know if you have a seat for your son, but my daughter actually slept in my arms (or my husband's). I hope your flight goes well!

I think it's horrible advice to suggest giving a child drugs when he doesn't need them.

You should NEVER give a child medication that is not 100% necessary! If your child is already accustomed to sleeping at that time he should probably be ok.

If you had flown before, and your child's ears caused pain, I would suggest the medication. But, you've never tried it. Both my boys have flown in planes starting at 6 months (and twice yearly since). They experienced no ear pain. Just make sure to have a bottle ready for take off and landing. I would never suggest giving any type of medicine to your child without symptoms that would be relieved by its use. This is your baby. Be careful and good luck.

I would have to say don't do that. It just doesn't seem right to me to medicate your child unnecessarily so that he won't bother you or other passengers. Of course, double check with your dr., but it seems wrong. If sleep is your concern, change the time of your flight and do it during the day so he can be awake and find stuff to stimulate him during the flight.

Hi there. I took my 3 year old on a flight to Italy with a connection. If you are leaving close to bedtime, your child should not need anything. Mine didn't. Right after they served the dinner, she relaxed & went right to sleep. She slept through the landing. The 2nd flight that day she fell asleep right on take-off & slept till landing again. The flight attendant told me take off's and landing's are when most kids fall asleep.. has to do with the air pressure or something. Good luck.

Dear JS,
I would be careful with the benadryl. it can have the reverse affect and make your child hyper, instead of sleepy. We have used Tylenol for our child and it has worked. My daughter has flown since she was 4 1/2 months old. We have flown from Chicago to Orlando, seattle, Phoenix and San Diego. She has always done well, both in our laps and ina car seat. You might want to test the bendryl first before you fly.
I knwo that some people disagree with this methid, but whtever works for you is my theory.
Also, try and make sure that you have enough to keep him entertained and if they like certain things to eat (snacks) you can go that route as well. I gave the tylenol about 1/2 hour before take off.
Hope that helps.

I personally don't believe in giving children medicine if they don't need it. THe baby is only 7 months old and that's another reason I say not to give benadryl. The baby should sleep anyways. I would give the baby a bottle during takeoff and landing so his ears continue to pop or the pressure on the ears may make him miserable. Good luck!

Sometimes the Benadryl can have an adverse affect as it did with my twins when I took them on a flight in June. They did not get drowsy at all and they had alot of energy. I know it does work for some babies/toddlers. It may help.

Hi Johannah!!
I travelled to Cali this past summer with my kids--5 & 17months. I did give my daughter benadryl to help sleep. It also helps ease the discomfort on their ears from the high altitude. My daughter definitely needed it as her ears were in a lot of discomfort as well as we had a 4 1/2 hour flight. It pretty much saved me on the flight. I didn't give it to her until we were completely up in the air so that it would last the duration of the flight.
Hope this helped & good luck with your flight!

If the fight is at bedtime, he will probably sleep on his own. In the past, we have tried to make sure they are sleepy by giving our children shorter than usual afternoon naps. Just bring anything he would noramally sleep with (balnket, paci etc) on the flight. Good luck!

I would NOT drug my kid to put them on a flight.

The down side to benadryl is that for some kids it makes them more hyper than not having it. So you could give it to your 7 month old who could stay awake the whole flight instead of sleeping through part of it without benadryl.

I would bring formula or breastmilk in a sippy cup so that your baby has something to suck on during takeoff and landing (for ear pressure) and bring the carseat. You should be fine.

My personal opinion - you should not medicate your child unless he/she absolutely needs medication because they are sick. I know some parents do this and I am not trying to judge, but I personally feel that giving a child Benadryl just so they sleep on a flight is a little self-indulgent...and probably unnecessary. We've traveled a ton with our daughter since she was about 6 months old, and the lull of the plane and drone of the engine were enough to put her to sleep. Chances are, your son being so little, he'll sleep on his own anyway. I would steer clear of using any medication. Doctors don't even want you to give your child cough or cold medicine until they're at least 2 by the way - it was a big enough struggle for us to decide to give our 15 month old Benadryl when she had a bad cold so she could sleep through the night without suffering. Doing it so you have a peaceful flight?....Just think about it before you do it.

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