Seeking Advice on Air Travel with Infant

Updated on March 01, 2008
N.A. asks from Santa Clarita, CA
6 answers

I'm going to Hawaii in May, and I'm debating if I should take my baby with me. He'll be 13 months old by then, and I'm wondering how he'd do on the flight. I've never flown with my kids before. Will he experience ear pain during that long flight? What's the best way to soothe him during the flight, etc. Does anyone have any helpful advice for me? Thanks :)

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So What Happened?

Thank you to everyone who gave me that wonderful information! As it turned out, I had to leave him behind. He had congestion, and the doctor said he wouldn't travel well. SO my mom-in-law watched him, and he did great with her. Thanks everyone for your great advice though! Now I know what to do when I take him in a couple months!

More Answers



answers from Sacramento on

Get him checked by your pediatrician to make sure he doesn't have a cold/ear infection before your flight. For me, that would determine my decision about traveling with my own toddler.

The pressure in the eustachian tube is what causes the pain, and it affects them mainly when they have a compromised tube (from allergies, infection, or other irritation) and the tube cannot clear. If your son has an ear infection or sinus issues, I would not take him on the flight at all until fully recovered, but if he does show up with a slight infection or problem, the doc may give you appropriate meds that will help clear it up enough in advance.

Otherwise, the flight shouldn't bother him if he is swallowing regularly or sleeping. He might become bored though, and crying can make the pressure more intense.

If you bottle feed or nurse, this seems to work wonders on the babies I see on my long flights, because it's cuddly and they are swallowing/clearing the eustachian tube regularly.

13 months is also old enough that you could bring toys and books and maybe a DVD player if you don't have an appropriate in flight movie or VOD in the seat.

Also, I would take the car seat so he has a familiar seat that he can nap in and so you don't get tired of holding him on a longer flight.

Have a great time in Hawaii!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

hi N.,

my husband & i have travel lots with our baby. we found that nursing or eating tends to help with the ear ache when the plane asends & decends. try th anything with a sucking, it may help too.

have fun in hawaii.




answers from Sacramento on

My kids are experienced flyers from the age of 6 weeks on up. The only time there seem to be ear issues is on takeoff and landing, and having them suck on a binky or bottle has always worked to soothe them.



answers from Sacramento on

Hi N.,

When I flew with my children, I medicated them with liquid Benadryl.
1. De-congested them and prevented ear pain.
2. Side effect, they slept all the way to Cancun.

side note, some children have a hyperactive effect with Benadryl medication, so you might want to do a test run prior to flying. I'm sure that using medication before flying will be found controversial. I found that it was far less traumatic for my girls to sleep and wake up with no ear pain, ready to get off the plane then wrestle with their boredom as I had in the past! Benadryl is given by weight, 1/2 teaspoon on up, and is a drug store staple.

Take lots of sun block and introduce your kids to the ocean! Also, take lots of small snacks, in small zip lock bags, my kids wanted to eat in the airport and while they were awake.

L. A



answers from Sacramento on

Hi N.,

Your baby will be fine. I have been a Flight Attendant for 30 years and I am also a mother. I have traveled extensively with my son from the time he was 3 months old. If he has a cold he may experience ear pain on descent ( something to suck on will help keep his ears open). Bring some of his toys and maybe have a couple of new things for him that you bring out during the flight. Also, pack extra treats for him to munch on...crackers, cheerios, whatever. The airlines don't provide much to eat these days. Pack a small bag that you can bring on the plane just for him, with extra clothes, diapers, munchies and toys. If he watches videos, bring your dvd and put on his favorite video. Have a great trip to Hawaii.




answers from Sacramento on

Definitely take the baby. We never went anywhere without our babies (staring as early as one month old) and started flying with them in our arms and on our backs in packs half way across the world. The ears are an issue on landing more so than on take off. Take-off is easy as the ears equalize easily (due to the oxygen molecules becoming more spread apart as you go higher into the atmosphere. On descent (Oxygen molecules become denser) it's very difficult so always be prepared to feed the baby on the descent. You could do it on take off as well to help the ears acclimate but definitely on the way down. The sucking action keeps the eustacian tubes opening and closing, releasing the build up of pressure. In my opinion, trips are more rewrading when you take the whole family. Hawaii is very kid friendly - try Paia (Baby Beach) in Maui. Aloha.

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