36 answers

Is Benadryl Ok to Give My 1 Year Old to Help Her Sleep?

ok here is my issue...I am traveling in a car with my daughter on a 15 hour trip. We are leaving at night time so she can sleep through the night, however I worry that gas stops and lights may wake her up or keep her from falling asleep. I have heard from lots of people that if they have a hard time getting there children to sleep they just give them benadryl. Has anyone done this? is this ok? what kind should I get?I know its not a everyday thing, and my daughter never has a problem sleeping, but I want to make sure she gets a good nights rest for her sake and mine. Its a looong drive. Please help, Im leaving tomorrow the 30th! any suggestions would be great!

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So What Happened?™

ok...well we made the trip and we survived as I knew we would. I decided not to give my daughter anything, she was fine for the most part. A little cranky in the beginning and end of trip but overall she slept great. 3 hours, then we stopped for gas and she woke right up, I took her out to walk around a bit, then put a sleepy dvd on for her and she fell asleep within 15 minutes and slept for 5 hours. She also slept a bit in the morning. I should of trusted my gut instincts anyways but just thought I would ask some other mothers to see what they do. So thankyou for all your advice. I really am not one to give my daughter medicines she doesn't need. And I did not want to "drug" her as some of you say for my sake. some of you made me feel pretty bad and I didn't even give her the medicine. So please remember we come on here for advice, but that doesn't mean your advice is right. So please don't make other mothers feel bad. We all try to do the best for our children. And most of you were very kind with your advice, but others were not. So to all the advice that was given in a kind manner thank you very much. Its nice to get someone elses point of view in some matters. Now we just need to get home! So thanks again! It helped me alot and made me realize my gut was right.

Featured Answers

I have traveled extensively across the USA by CAR & Plane with my children when they were small and older. I NEVER gave them any drugs, and we did just fine. The motion of the car was enough to put them to sleep easily.

When they were awake we entertained them with finger foods,juice,and favorite toys etc...A video works well to with a portable video/DVD player:)
A few stops to let them run about in a play-land as a treat went over well too.

I would NOT recommend any meds UNLESS DOCTOR OK'S FIRST> You could overdose you child by accident with tragic consequences.

1 mom found this helpful

Try "Rescue Remedy" It does contain alcohol but Benadryl is more toxic. I don't like to take it myself, so I never gave it to my children.

yes but ask a doc how much, I know it is less than 1/2 a pill at least DRIVER GETS NONE SEE IF THERE IS ANY ON THE SHELF FOR BABIES

More Answers

As I am a family wellness coach, I completely disagree with giving meds so that she will sleep. Medication should be used sparingly at the worst of times, espcially on children. Using meds to help her sleep is NOT a good idea.

Here's the thing, if more women trusted their instincts they would be far more confident moms. If you THOUGHT it was a good idea, you wouldn't have asked us. You are looking for permission to medicate your child to make your trip easier. I say no, it is not alright

3 moms found this helpful

Absolutely not. do you know how many children have massive complications from reactions to drugs? many say Benadryl is safe in small doses for Allergic reactions, not long road trips. they've pulled all pediatric medicines from Over the Counter... why would you give your baby something that a)she doesnt need for a medical reason, and b) is not intended for her in the first place? i dont mean to sound harsh especially if this is your first child and you have no experience whatsoever wiht any children ever in your life, but its really a matter of common sense. PS most kids tend to sleep through long car rides unless they are very hyperactive naturally. she may wake up and be cranky - guess what after every couple of hours you're going to have to wake her up anyway to change her pamper anyway arent you? or at least check it? please dont introduce anything into your daughter's system just because you dont want to deal wiht her crankiness. when i have an issue like that i let her eat whatever she wants and make a huge mess, which is totally NOT allowed in the car (per my husband.) when its a long road trip i buy them snacks (nothing sweet of course that will keep her up) and juices and bring some toys. fill her up with FOOD and she will pass out. for one day will not her or you... and you wont be drugging your kid for lack of a better word.

3 moms found this helpful

No. Intentionally drugging your child for the convenience of not having to listen to her during your car ride is not ok in my opinion. Do you really expect her to sleep the full 15 hours?
Being a parent is full of inconveniences. I suggest a more natural approach such as feeding her a warm bottle (or cup) of milk. Darkening her carseat area. Remaining quiet during the ride. You may be surprised at how well she sleeps. Even if she does wake up and not loses one good nights rest, she has a lifetime to make up that sleep loss. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but it is an opinion board, and this is my thought on the subject.

2 moms found this helpful

Hey T.,
Let me start telling you I am a mother of two boys and they are complete opposites; one a sleeper and one that just is NOT! I have traveled with my boys to Michigan several times and I know how long road trips can be. My opinion on the Benadryl is, why put something in your babies body it does not need? If she needs sleep, her body will tell her it is time and night driving is a great idea! When you will be stopping for gas, just use a blanket or towel to cover her eyes and leave on the radio to continue sound, she may wake a little, just continue as if she were sleeping and she will not be stimulated by anyone talking to her and will fall back to sleep. It will be ok and best of all you won't have to worry if she is going to have a reaction to the Benadryl or have a "hang over" from it and be fussy and more tired then if she just slept naturally. Benadryl can be dangerous and is not worth the risk!!

2 moms found this helpful

I have traveled extensively across the USA by CAR & Plane with my children when they were small and older. I NEVER gave them any drugs, and we did just fine. The motion of the car was enough to put them to sleep easily.

When they were awake we entertained them with finger foods,juice,and favorite toys etc...A video works well to with a portable video/DVD player:)
A few stops to let them run about in a play-land as a treat went over well too.

I would NOT recommend any meds UNLESS DOCTOR OK'S FIRST> You could overdose you child by accident with tragic consequences.

1 mom found this helpful

Oh PLEASE don't EVER give any child medicine that they don't absolutley need! Our bodies have to work so hard to remove the toxins that come along with all the meds! She may suprise you and sleep anyway, or may wake up for the first few and then sleep through after that. You never know and that's just part of travelling with young children.Have a safe trip!

1 mom found this helpful

If your daughter generally does not have trouble sleeping, then she should be able to sleep in the car. That is a long drive for a child to not fall asleep on her own. She may want to look at the lights for a while and be kept up by gas stops but, I would think she would eventually fall asleep.
I would not give her benadryl. So not worth the risk. It is just one night of not so great sleep. And she may do great on her own. I always listen to my pediatrician and the warnings about giving benadryl to a baby. There are reasons why their are warnings and I would never take that chance even though your daughter would probably be just fine.
Also, trips can often throw babies off in general. They don't always nap or sleep as well. Happens to my baby everytime. But, when we get back from the trip, things slowly get back to normal. That is the price we pay for taking trips with them! But, sometimes we just have to get away!!
Good luck and skip the benadryl.

1 mom found this helpful

I know you have a ton of responses already, but please don't give her something to make her sleep. She will conk out on her own. Believe me. And if she wakes up a couple of times, well, find a spot to stop, change her diaper, let her walk around a few minutes (if she is walking already.. if not, then a few minutes to climb around inside the car and stretch some) and you can get up and stretch your legs too. Just be careful that if you let her climb around in the car that once she is back in her seat, double check the seat belt buckle that holds the car seat in the car. One trip we went on, my little boy undid it without us knowing while he was climbing around at one of our stops and we didn't know it was unhooked until we were asked to pull over by a cop at a driver's license checkpoint. We had no idea why we were being asked to pull over, but the officer was very nice about asking if we realized... obviously we didn't. But I became vigilant about checking it after that.
Trust me though, until she is closer to 4 years old, her NOT falling asleep on a car ride shouldn't be a problem. Please don't medicate her hoping to make your ride easier. You shouldn't have to stop more than once every 3 hours or so, and you could probably use a stretch yourself, or a potty stop, at those intervals...

1 mom found this helpful

T.,
Personally, I wouldnt EVER give my 15 month old benadryl to help him sleep.
Heather

1 mom found this helpful

I did it on a plane trip once, on the advise of many others. What I found out was Benadryl hypes my kid up. It was the first time I had given it to him and it didnt occur to me that the side effect my be hyperactivity, not sleeping. It was a joyous plane trip......NOT!!! Dont do it unless you need to. See how she does first. Just plan one good stop in the middle of the trip to give her a break. I'm sure she'll do fine.

1 mom found this helpful

No. It is never OK to give a baby drugs unless prescribed by a physician for an ailment. Also, if you give the baby Benadryl when she does not need it, it may not have the desired effect when she does need it. Good luck on your trip and take very special care of your daughter, she needs you to give her your best until she can care for herself.
:-)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T.,
Traveling can sometimes be stressful with little ones, but drugs are not the answer. My daughter & I use only organic therapeutic grade essential oils for the little ones, they work great & they love them. Drugs are not advisable to put in healthy bodies. Oils & special toys for your trip should do it. Be safe, Joy & Blessings, G.

1 mom found this helpful

I say no. That's not what Benedryl is supposed to be used for. If she's never had a problem sleeping, she probably won't this time either as long as she has everything she usually has...blanket, lovey, toy, paci, whatever. Don't forget, some kids have the opposite reaction. And better a sleepy kid the next day than a kid who is bouncing off the car windows during the trip.

1 mom found this helpful

T.,

It is safe - check with your pediatrician for dosage if you think it's necessary. If you feel you need it, wait and see how she does before giving it. The car is probably the best sleep aid. It provides the white noise, rhythm and movement she'll need to sleep.
We traveled quite a bit with my boys when they were young. We had to wake them to change diapers and things.
It will be easier than you think!

Good Luck,
M.

I have given my daughter benadryl for an allergy and it had the opposite affect it kept her up!! We have also taken long car rides with her (16 hours) and she has been great (no meds to make her sleep) I wouldn't worry.

I asked my doctor about it for a plane flight. She told me I could give her half a teaspoon of children's benadryl. I assume the dosage was based on her weight (around 18.5 lbs) not age. She did tell me to test it on her before we went on the plane because 10 percent of children get very hyper from the medication. I never ended up using it.
My daughter sleeps pretty well in the car when it is moving especially at night. Even when she wakes up she falls right back asleep as soon as the car is moving. If she is already a good sleeper, I would go without the benadryl if I were you. Best of luck on your trip!!

T.-- I think you'll be surprised how well she'll sleep. I've driven cross-country with my kids to visit relatives on four different occasions (19-hour road trips), and my boys slept so well. The car just zones them out. They slept well both day and night. They're now 3 and 21 months, but they did well at every age.

1) you have to know how it affects her- some kiddos get WIRED from some drugs and others get drowsy

2) ASK YOUR DOCTOR

3) I say just let her be. So what if she doesn't sleep? it'll work itself out...

4) www.askdrsears.com has the dosing for all meds for all babies/toddlers

Glad to hear it! You all inspired me to write an article for helium about this topic.

http://www.helium.com/items/1323198-alternatives-to-rital...

I find that both my girls will stay asleep even with stop for gas and such especially at night time...and if they do wake up, once I am back on the road the eyes close again. The trouble with Benadryl is that it might not keep your daughter asleep. I find it really does not have that drowsy effect on my two girls (sometimes I wish it did) so it might not even work with your daughter. I would say make sure she has anything that keeps her asleep at night (blanket, animal, etc) and don't worry about giving her anything...I bet she will surprise you with her sleep.

I wouldn't do it. My son had a very bad reaction to a small dose of childrens Triaminic when he was 1 1/2.(we were at Disney and he had an awful cough) I asked the doctor if he could have it and they said it was fine. That night though he had a very high fever, he was shaking and his whole body was red. We had to take him to the hospital. Just stick with the infants tylenol, if you have to give anything. Ask your doctor about the full dose she's allowed to have. That always knocks my son out. I would wait till you're on the road before you give it to her though. She'll probably sleep most of the time anyways, my son always sleeps in the car. If she sleeps through the night you could stop for breakfast at someplace with an indoor playplace and let her have fun for a bit before she gets back in the car. Chick-fil-a always has clean play areas. I'd also bring lots of snacks and drinks, and a new toy or two.(or you could hide a favorite toy for a few days before you leave). You could also bring some crayons and a coloring book and sit back there with her. I've traveled with my son alot and he never has a problem. I just always have lots of entertainment and food. A portable DVD player is one of the best inventions ever!

Hi T., I did not read the responses, but I personally would not do this. Also, one of the side effects of Benadryl can be "excitability" meaning that in some people it has the opposite effect, and could backfire on you. Or, she might get a good four to six hours of sleep while the medication is in effect, and wake up wired once it wears off, and there her whole schedule is thrown off. I wouldn't mess with it.

BTW: The nurse at my son's previous pediatrician recommended giving him a dose of Benadryl when I complained that he was having sleep issues (they were not related to illness). We are no longer with that ped. and the one we have now would never recommend such a thing, but as you can see, there are a variety of opinions out there, even in the medical community.

i would never use it as a sleeping aide but that is just me. i am sure if you give her 1/4 tsp it will work. but i would not suggest it nor recomend it. why don't you try to go without anything and just what happens. i took my child at 9 months on a 15 hour trip. we left at like 3:00 am and all went well.

My husband and I debated doing this for a plane ride when our daughter was a year old too. We decided against it. Even though we had given it to her before (milk products makes her break out in hives) and know that it does make her sleepy, it felt like we were dosing her for the sake of our own comfort. She was fine on the plane, but then we had a 2 hour drive afterwards right in the middle of nap time. She probabaly cried for 20 minutes straight then took a long nap. Since then, she has never slept better in and out of the car. I'm not going to lie, those 20 minutes were excruciating, but after she fell asleep in broad daylight it opened my eyes to how resilient little ones can be. She may wake up a few times, she may want to stay up and play, it may throw her schedule off for a day or two, or she may just be fine. Good luck!

Try melatonin. My pediatrician recommended it for our trip and it worked great.

I think most moms on here have given benedryl...or at least thought of it. Here's the thing: there is no dosage info for young babies. It's not really something we should do because the drug is a drug and it's not intended for young babies anyway. With that said, can you talk to your doctor? Unless anyone is a medical professional who responds, I don't think any of us should be advising you how to adminster this medication. I'd call your pediatrician and express your concerns. And, most children will sleep through the night, even in a car. You'd be surprised that the lights and stops rarely bother them. Good luck.

yes but ask a doc how much, I know it is less than 1/2 a pill at least DRIVER GETS NONE SEE IF THERE IS ANY ON THE SHELF FOR BABIES

If you've never given her Benedryl before, I would caution you not to use it when you are really wanting her to sleep. The doctor told me to give it to my daughter for allergy reasons and it wires her up!! I have also given it to my second daughter and it has the same effect of her. I only give it to her when she is really miserable with sinus issues and I plan to be up for a while! I know it does have the opposite effect for most, but I can attest to the fact that it can make them wild!!

Me personally? I would save the Benadryl as a last resort (and the car DVD player too!). My little one made a 16 hour car trip with only 1 2-hour nap at Thanksgiving and was a born road tripper! Don't worry, trust your gut... why drug your child unnecessarily?

K.

Try "Rescue Remedy" It does contain alcohol but Benadryl is more toxic. I don't like to take it myself, so I never gave it to my children.

i probably wouldn't give it to her. my daughter had an awful time sleeping when she was little. waking up every 30-45 mins until she was 2. i never gave her benadryl, even though i was tempted. all the peds tell you not to. and from what my ped told me, children react to it differently. it makes some drowsy and some it perks up.

Please don't. Avoid chemically filled and dyed products for your children... and you. That precious little body will probably sleep with the motion of the car. Doesn't always work but soft music and an otherwise quiet car helps. Also, please feed her calming foods, such as turkey, not sugar or fake foods the day before and while traveling. Actually, stay away from artificial ingredients and too much sugar every day. Behavioral rewards will be enjoyed by all. Bon Voyage!

E. b

Be careful my son had a allergic reaction to eggs and we had to give him benydril to get the eye swelling to go down and he got SUPER hyper...

if your daughter can fall asleep in the car during the daytime when the sun is out, i wonder how affacted she would really be at night by the lights...

My pediatrician said I could use once for a plane trip but I didnt. I feel she is too young for benedryl. My doctor also suggested Humphreys teething tablets-they are all natural and dissolve in their mouth. They are used for teething and soothing an upset stomach and also help with sleep. I got them at the Target pharmacy from the pharmacist and they were only a couple of dollars. I used those for our plane trip and they worked great. Have a great trip. S.

I have used it on both my children for trips and it was great. 1/2 a teaspoon was what I gave them. It helped them calm down and sleep through the trip. I gave it to them right before getting on the airplane or about 10 minutes before getting in the car. My kids were good sleepers but better safe.

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