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Something to Make My Daughter Drowsy?

OK, this might sound awful, but in anticipation of a trip overseas to visit family, which will last a grand total of approx 18 hours door to door, I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions on safe OTC meds I can give my 14 month old daughter to make her sleepy? The outbound trip might be better than the inbound since it's overnight, but I'm still VERY nervous. Thanks for any advice/suggestions you might have to offer.

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My friend uses Melaton XR 3 mg you can get it at wall greens give it 20 minutes before bed time.
good luck try it before you go just a suggestion

That is not a good idea. Very dangerous to even consider. Imagine what happens if she reacts poorly to a sedative which is very likely.

Drs. won't even sedate children this young for catheterizations!

How about trying something homeopathic?

Has she flown before?

I do NOT recommend Benedryl. It can have a reverse effect in young children making them hyper. We tried this on a plane trip when my son was about 20 months, and he was even crankier and more of a handful afterwards.

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Sometimes it is best to not ask other moms, but look to your pediatrician. I am so sorry for all the judgmental comments other mothers’ are making. I am a teacher and many of my friends are doctors and what you are asking is completely reasonable and I totally agree with you. MY pediatrician who is well respected in this city of Chicago recommended Benadryl, and she said it is perfectly safe for a child 6 months and older. Just ask your doctor for the safe amount based on weight not age. I wish you luck, and please don’t feel bad about asking this question; unfortunately many people have strong opinions and want to make people feel bad. We are a network of mother’s that should help each other not criticize.

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If your doctor okays giving her something, please try it at home first. I had a child allergic to new medication his mom gave him for the first time on the plane. We were over the ocean when it happened. So please, please, try it at home a few days before leaving if you go this route.

At this age,some dvds, familiar snacks, a favorite blankie or stuffed animal are all musts for you to bring. I got some of the small PlayDoh packets and a few little cookie cutter things for my daughter when she was 16 mos. old, and she sat and played with it for a long time. Just watch her with it! A small Magna Doodle is good too. Or the Crayola Color Wonder products (I always kept these for outings only, we did not use at home, so they were always special).

I also got this little clear backpack and it had a small set of plastic dishes in it, and that kept my kids busy too.

Take her pjs or a comfy outfit (like a sweatsuit) to wear.

The hard part will be to keep her up once you get there, I assume like most flights you will arrive there in the morning, and then you will want her to stay up as long as you can to adjust her body clock, not sleep the day away.

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While many of the items that people will suggest eg. Benadryl will most of the time work out fine, in some instances they can have very bad reactions. In fact, the FDA and even the manufacturer say not to use on a child under age 2. here is a link to the consumer group that is petitioning for a ban of these products for all children under age 12 because of their ineffectiveness as cold remedies and their potential side effects that can in rare instances result in death (http://www.citizen.org/publications/release.cfm?ID=7599) I have done 5 trips to europe with my 20 month old ie from when she was 2 months old to now. In stead of drugging her, I would buy a portable dvd player or you could certainly borrow mine. I got one of the children's ones at Target. Normally, I don't let her watch any TV as the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against TV/DVD/computer for children until they are over the age of 2 but I make an exception for long flights. If I can, I bring her car seat with me and normally there are extra seats so I pop her in her car seat and entertain her with books and toys and food for the first while. I also let her run around the airport a good deal to try to tire her out. Something to suck on for takeoff and landing is good too. Then after a while, I turn on the DVD. Often she will fall asleep after an hour or two of Dora. Somehow it all works out and she arrives safely at our destination. Good luck and enjoy the trip.

1 mom found this helpful

I would avoid drugging your child. I have traveled lots with my 6 month old. Nurse nurse nurse! Bring a new toy or two and bring snacks and bottles too. Walking the aisle of the plane is a pretty popular thing to do with babies too. How about a sling too? Maybe there will be a free seat to stretch out on as well.

About the drugs : It's hard on their little bodies, especially their little livers and stomachs! My thinking is don't pollute their systems unless you have to! If you're in a panic though, please talk to your pediatrician about your concerns!

Embrace and accept that you'll both be a little tired. Not that big a deal and you'll both recover quick and with ZERO side effects!!!
Bon Voyage,


1 mom found this helpful

Just call your dr and ask what the apropriate dose for benadryl is. Don't even say why you're giving it to her. That way you can be sure it's as safe as possible. You might test it to see if it works before the trip (and make sure there is no negative reaction. Would people who are so opposed be opposed if it was given for a cold. What's the difference? As long as you don't do this regularly. You are not a bad parent for this. You are trying to make the trip pleasant for everyone.

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Perhaps to feel best about your question, consult a medical professional. Natural doesn't necessarily mean safe as the FDA doesn't monitor those products. Agreed that natural seems better, but keep in mind the safety aspect of that as well.

You might try to tire her out naturally. Walk her up and down the departure area, skip a nap if necessary. We have flown with my daughter on several long haul flights. There is no perfect solution. She might be tired, but as soon as you board that plane she will probably perk right up due to the "newness" of the environment. If you haven't already, you might explore the cost of her own seat. Everyone is more comfortable, except the person in front of you who can't put their seat back. It's worth it if you can afford it. Walk her up and down the aisles of the plane too - as long as it's not during when the flight attendants are doing their service functions.

Also, remember if she gets fussy, it's frustrating to you. You feel awful for her and the people on the plane, but the whole plane CANNOT hear her. It's fairly loud, so you are not alienating the entire plane. Not to mention most people have headphones on.

And to those who have responded to this: if you have to apologize in advance of your answer perhaps you should reframe your answer. Apologizing in advance does not make things right.

1 mom found this helpful

Some people are just WAY too judgmental, quick to attack and condemn. There is a way to relay an opinion without being mean. That being said, if you haven't ever given her Benadryl before (and I wouldn't in any case without her pediatrician's recommendation or permission), the flight would not the time to do so for the first time! There are risks, true, but there are also risks with any herbal remedies. As someone said below, just because it's "natural" doesn't mean it's any safer for your child then any OTC medication. Any child has the potential to have a reaction to any ingredient in ANYTHING. What I suggest is consult her pedi, and if there are particular things you are considering giving her, such as the Benadryl or any of the natural recommendations below, ask about those specific items (and as for the natural remedies, be sure to research exactly what's in it and give the info to the pedi, as he/she may not be familiar with the product).

I don't recommend you needlessly giving your child any drugs, but I do commend you for wanting the easiest flight possible, for you, your daughter AND the other passengers and flight staff! Arrive to the airport early, try to keep her awake for as long as possible beforehand, play with her to wear her out, fill her belly, and with luck those things will get her nice & tired and help her to sleep plenty on her own. (Also, as someone else suggested, a dose of Tylenol may stave off any crankiness, as well as helping with any ear pain.)

If there is something her pedi will approve, do give it to her on a day at least a week prior to the trip, so you can see how it affects her and if she has any adverse reactions. Even so, only give it to her as a last resort. Try other tactics to calm her first: toys, crayons, DVDs, books, snacks & drinks, etc.

We took our son on a three-hour flight when he was 9 months old, taking along Benadryl (which his pedi had already recommended to give him for mild sinus issues). We didn't need it. He slept through the entire outbound flight, and just sat calmly on my lap on the return flight. We couldn't have hoped for an easier trip. But a 12-15 hour flight? Who knows how he would have been? You know your child best, and what she can/can't handle, and have the best idea about how she's going to cope. I say expect the best, but prepare for the worst. (And don't let anyone make you feel like you are a bad mommy because you are trying to take everyone's comfort in mind.)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, T C...

From one Mom to another, I am quite sure that you would never look at giving your daughter something that was unsafe for her, hence your asking for something that was "safe". But, sometimes we just don't use the right words because we aren't exactly sure of what we are asking. With that said, what I believe will be a safe alternative to something that might drug your little one is for you to go to your local Fruitful Yield or nutrition store and purchase a bottle of something called "Rescue Remedy". It is a safe and natural product that comes in a little bottle with a dropper and you just follow the directions on the bottle and place drops under their tongue and it helps to CALM them, not drug them. It is made with flower essences and we have used this product safely for years now to give to our children prior to something happening that might cause them stress or anxiety---such as going to the dentist, or getting shots, etc. It won't make your little one drowsy, but it will bring a sense of calm and in the end it will be much safer. If you are flying at night, however, and you are looking to give her something to help her sleep better in her new surroundings, they have something called "Calms Forte" by Hylands and we have used that when we have taken trips and our 6 year old daughter would struggle sleeping in a different bed. It is also natural and safe.

Another thing to remember is that our children often times get stressed because they are picking up on our stress, so you might also want to take the drops yourself (anyone can take them) in order to bring a sense of calm to yourself so that you in turn don't cause your little one to feed off of your own anxiety.

I also agree (from experience) with the other Moms...pack her her very own "fun" bag with snacks, books, toys and things that you know, based upon her likes and personality, that you will be able to use to keep her entertained.

So, take a deep breath...pack the fun bag...give the drops to both you and your daughter and ENJOY your trip! :)

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think it sounds awful. It can be tough confined with a small child for a day and a half on an airplane! I don't know about anything from Walgreens, but I do know about a teething med from the Whole Foods. I can't remember the name. Id made my girls drowsy. Good luck.

I have to agree- it is really scary that you want to do this. My daughter is the exact same age as yours and I do everything I can to keep chemicals AWAY from her.

I would try buying inexpensive toys that she's never seen before to entertain her. A portable DVD player or laptop with some movies might also help.


Definitely talk to your pediatrician first, but ours recommended Benedryl for an overseas trip when my older son was about 11 months old. I didn't end up using it on the flight, but I did give him a half-dose to calm him enough to get to sleep our first night there - he was so exhausted he was hysterical.

You definitely want to treat all OTC meds with respect and be careful about dosage, but I think benedryl is as widely used and safe as any other common medication (tylenol or whatever.) But try it out ahead of time. Both my kids have some allergies, so we've used it for that and my older son falls asleep (like I do) but my younger son gets wide awake when he takes it.

Editing again with an apology to Jennifer P. The snark definitely wasn't called for! Sorry about that.

But the problem with overseas flights is that you're completely changing their body clocks and they HAVE to sleep. They get overstimulated during the flight and then you arrive and like my kid, they're just too tired to calm themselves no matter what. It's not that your "drugging them" for your own peace of mind, at all - it's that they literally get sick from exhaustion. I don't think using a safe product with caution is any different from giving tylenol to prevent earaches on the plane.

I also think it's crazy to give untested herbal stuff when there's a drug available that's been used for decades and tested thoroughly. But that's just me . . . I'm sure whatever you do you'll be careful, talk to your doctor, and try ahead of time.

The last place you want to have medical problems for a medication to calm a child would be in a long distance flight.You have no access to immediate medical intervention other than the kit for the flight attendants. You don't want to risk your child's life or an emergency landing in a foreign country for medical care. This also may throw the childs normal moods and sleep off that you expect for the entire trip. I would bring fresh entertainment and a few favorite toys. If the crying starts don't get frazzled remember the plane will land and you can enjoy your vacation. Also bring an arsonal of tylenol/motrin/any other med your doctor thinks would be needed to help out a sick child abroad without having you go to a strang place to find something unfamiliar in the middle of the night.

Please remember that "All Natural Herbal" products and supplements are not regulated closely and can be way more DANGEROUS than many over the counter childrens' meds. I would suggest talking to your ped before your flight...I am sure that they will have some ideas for you.

We took my kids on a flight beginning of this last winter. I will agree it is hard to keep them entertained. We bought a "cars" magnetic playset (at the airport.. then we found other ones at walmart later) and my kids played with it for hours. We also bought a replica of a plane that my kids thought was cool. We brought a small bag from home with a couple small toys and books and that helped too. Our trip wasn't as long so we didn't use anything to make them drowsy so I can't help there, but consult your child's doctor. My youngest was 21 months and he actually slept for a good part of the flight. The only other thing I want to point out is to bring something for them to suck on/eat during take-off and landing, but remember that if you bring a bottle/sippy cup it has to be EMPTY to get through security. Most airports have machines/ shops to buy things to drink once you've gotten through security.

benydryl- usually works well but in some cases has the opposite affect call your ped for the exact dosage-

I don't know of anything "safe" to give your daughter to make her drowsy. If she gets anxious, rescue remedy should work (maybe take some yourself so she doesn't pick up your anxiety). If she is prone to air-sickness (which I usually am), there are homeopathic remedies that will help. It would be best to just pack things to keep her occupied, keep her hydrated, and plenty of food & snacks. Also to let her walk around a little every hour to keep circulation good. Contact me if you're interested in Homeopathy & I can help with other traveler remedies.
Dr. Alicia, ND

I am not passing judgement on your question, but please try to remember that children are meant to be enjoyed, not drugged, on a trip. Even a 14 month old can start "hard-wiring" experiences so that when things get a little "hairy" taking something to "calm us down" is a natural reaction. I have three children and we always let the kids be active in the airport (rules are: must not bother anyone and be quiet) by finding corners where they could play (Even in O'Hare in Chicago there are places to jump and play), and then do as others have suggested with favorite blankies, snacks and age-appropriate DVD's. Good luck with the trip. Don't forget to give your precious little girl something to suck on when going up and esp. when landing to avoid ears plugging up. Even if not taking a bottle, take one of those disposable cups with straws.

I took my 18 month old and she slept most of the time w/o giving her anything...you better talk to a Dr. about that...

Most natural health food stores carry dissolving tablets that have chamomile in them and some other natural relaxers for infants. I give my daughter the ones for teething. Hers DO have a lactose base, but it's just a little (in case you try to avoid dairy.)

A natural remedy.... a chewable melatonin tablet from Trader Joe's. It tastes like a mint and is all-natural. The body produces melatonin as well. Good luck!

My friend uses Melaton XR 3 mg you can get it at wall greens give it 20 minutes before bed time.
good luck try it before you go just a suggestion

We have done quite a bit of traveling with our children and I asked my pediatrician for something and he recommended using Benadryl. But I would try it out before you go because sometimes it can have the opposite effect and make your child wired. We have exerienced both so that is why I recommed trying it out first. Good luck!!

Do not feel bad about asking a question like that. The pilot will probably do a better job anyway if he isn't distracted by a screaming child! Teehee. Anyway, I don't know when you are going but also look for foods that seem to calm her. Or liquids such as the warm milk, as opposed to heading off with some sugar in her system. I am sure you know that. If she is also teething you might try a bit of baby Tylenol and it should relax her. Ask your pharmacist. It sounds silly but they know what every medication will do.

I just heard a reminder on NPR the other night that cold medications (including anti-histamines) are still not FDA recommended for kids under 4. I'd hate for something dangerous to happen to your daughter when you're over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean... the way I see it, it's less than a day of your life. If she takes it bad, it's not really that long of a time. I think her safety is probably more important than a peaceful flight. Good luck with your decision!

Hi there!

If you do want to do meds to make your daughter sleepy please consult with her ped. Dr first for the correct dosage since her age is not what they use to give the dose- it is her weight. He may also have someting better for you to use or better advice. Lots of times this is someting that can be discussed over the phone. Our Dr gave us the recommended dose for Benedryl for a long road trip- 12 hours- but we never had to use it.

The noise of the car (ya, I know different than a plane) and the movement alone kept her happy. Of course we also had movies in the DVD player and new toys for her to play with. She watched the movies and we never even pulled out the toys!

I will say this though... we found out now my daughter is allergic to an ingredient in Benedryl. I can not imagine finding out while on a plane so I am so thankful that we did not find out while on the road either. She actually will go into shock from it and have to be taken to the ER. Please make sure if you do go the med route that you try it 2 times at home first. Also lots of those meds to make a child sedated will actually have an oposite effect... you might end up worse off than if you were to not give it.

No matter what you choose, you have to do what is right for you and your situation. I wish you luck and hope you have safe and happy travels!
Many blessings to you and yours!

Bring a DVD player and a CD player with headphones. We took my son on a long plane ride at about 15 months, and the CD player was the best thing we had. Whenvere he got restless we had him listen to music for about 10 minutes, it really calmed him down. Also bring tons of snacks that do not really fill her up (puff cereal or small pieces of dried fruit) anything small that takes a while to eat. We also bought tons of stickers. He wound up decorating us and himself, but he played with them for a while several times throughout the trip. That is a long trip for such a little girl. I would not give her any medication in case she has a bad reaction to it during the flight. Maybe you can ask some friends to lend you some toys so she can have some "new" toys she has never seen.

I have a now 3 and 4 year old that I had the same concern with flying to Europe by myself.
I have a friend that is a stewardess, I asked her the same question. She said some folks give them stuff like Benadril, BUT she said, not to forget that medicine, like alcohol, has a different effect on a body in that altitude then on the ground. I was not going to take the risk, to 'overdose' my kids and you know what they got so exhausted from all the new stuff around them and flying, they did just fine.
Secondly, don't you worry about other people being bothered. Kids are kids, yes it can be annoying to try to get some rest in a plane with a bouncing kid next to you, but it is what it is, you can't blame kids for having a healthy energy and enjoy playing.
Try to take a different approach on this subject and don't worry to much, you will see the less nervous you are the better it will go.

Hi there - best of luck to you, that is a very long flight. I definitely agree with all of the advice about the portable dvd players with the extra battery, loading some media on the ipod or iphone/touch if you have one, and then some fun new games and toys, fun snacks (and snacks that take some time to eat like pretzel rods, maybe a bagel, and those tiny packages of raisins, etc). You know your child better than anyone else, so you'll know what things she would find entertaining and get excited about. About the movies though, I'd suggest bringing ones she might already be familiar with. On one flight we took we brought a new movie for my toddler son, and he could have cared less about it. He's much more engaged by the few ones he's seen several times.

About Benadryl - yes you've heard the warnings about how many children can be allergic and can also have the opposite reaction to benadryl - get hyper. But also just know that on Benadryl's website, they say NOT to give their product to children under 2 at all. AND it also specifically says not to use it to make children sleepy. I know that's a legal liability they are trying to avoid, but I follow it.

Many times I will give a dose of children's tylenol - that way if they have any discomfort during the flight, including pressure in their ears, that gentle pain reliever can help make it better for them. Be sure to give her something to drink during the ascent and descent.

Good luck and have fun!


How about carrying a DVD player...We travel overseas a lot (18+ hrs journey)..

It helps a lot.. Happy Child ,Happy You & happy fella passengers..

Drugs can be very dangerous and if you give her something that she had never had before you might have to deal with a medical situation. I have flown with my daughter who is 2 1/2 now a couple of times to Germany and I only have one tip: Stay calm, be patient, ignore other people, your mood will reflect on your child and being nervous makes it worse. Depending on the plane you will have individual screens (mostly with non-American airlines) and they often have cartoons. Order a kids meal in advance and expect the unexpected. Make friends with the stewardess, that will go a long way!

My daughter actually got very hyper once from Benadryl (she had a cold) and wouldn't sleep at all on an overnight 8h plane ride... So drugs work differently on every individual. And she is still so young.

I do NOT recommend Benedryl. It can have a reverse effect in young children making them hyper. We tried this on a plane trip when my son was about 20 months, and he was even crankier and more of a handful afterwards.

Benedryl works great. It might help pressure in her ears, too, in the airplane. I'm assuming they have dosage for kids? I take it all the time to help me sleep. That's the pm in the tylenol pm stuff. You might want to just try half the dose, though. The whole dose makes me feel like I have a hangover the next day. Could actually make her hyper if you give her the full does, so I would try half first to see if that relaxes her and makes her sleepy. Dramamine for motion sickness makes you sleepy, too, but I don't know if they make that for little kids. Good luck on your trip!

I would ask my pediatrician before giving anything for this purpose. A.

I don't think they make anything to intentionally give a child just to make them sleep. I would try and think of ways to entertain her while on the plane, such as books, maybe bring a portable dvd player with some elmo tapes, paper and crayons, a nonworking cell phone, finger foods that she can eat and play around with(cherrios or gerber stars). I bet other moms have a ton of suggestions to entertain kids on long trips, many of us have taken our kids on long excurtions.
Good luck,

I wouldn't give her anything--I have traveled alone with two little ones many times and have never given them anything. Kids will sleep anywhere. Especially in a plane that makes noise and movements that will lull them to sleep just like in a car. Bring snacks.

Working for Surprise Parties,I have encountered several ladies who inform me that the pheromone-based products will make their children sleepy.
If you'd like to try an non-medication avenue, I'd like to suggest our Pure Instinct- a bottle of synthetic pheromones, that you apply like you would perfume. It works by creating feel good endorphins in the brain, which relaxes babies, and sexually charges adults.
see my website to check it out:

I'm sure you are going to get a variety of responses and I can't wait to read what some might say especially those that have never traveled far with little ones....

At any rate, you may talk to your pediatrician and he/she might give you some Dramamine...that will help with motion sickness and knock out your little one. It knocked me out when I took it as a kid all the time.

I have taken 2 trans-atlantic flights that last almost 24 hours door to door and there were difficult times to get them to sleep but we walked a lot up and down the aisles, played and had dinner and snacks and breastfed. I also recommend Rescue Remedy and the herb Valerian (check for correct dosages for children) that help to ease sleep - but would stay away from anything else. Kids are kids and just like us they do not like having to be seated on a plane for a long time. Walking, playing and eating are all normal things to do to eventually doze off. However be prepared that they might NOT so get a good nights rest yourself so you can be alert in case it is difficult for them to sleep on the plane.

Our pediatrician recommended Benadryl when we flew to Poland with our 9 month old daughter. You can buy them over the counter at any drug store. I suggest you get the Children's Benadryl Perfect Measure, Pre-Filled Spoons. It's great for travel, you dont have to carry the whole bottle or spoon with you. Just twist off the top and throw it away. It'a also less messier.
We gave it to our daughter before take off, or at least we tried to give it to her. She didnt seem to like it so I dont know actully how much of it got in to her mouth but she did great during flight. Dont forget to have your little girl suck on something during take off and landing so her ears don't pop.
Hope this helps alittle. Have agreat and safe trip.

That is not a good idea. Very dangerous to even consider. Imagine what happens if she reacts poorly to a sedative which is very likely.

Drs. won't even sedate children this young for catheterizations!

How about trying something homeopathic?

Has she flown before?

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