Crying Child on Airplane

You are about to board you plane after a long trip from which you are looking forward to a nice, relaxing flight back to reality.  As they announce that it is time for anyone with young children to preboard you hear the scream of a child and think to yourself, “please don’t let them be seated near me”.  As selfish as you feel, you are looking forward to a little sleep on your flight home.  Try to consider how the parents of the child are feeling.

There is nothing worse for a parent than to have a screaming child in your arms.  There are many reasons why the child could be crying on a flight.  Taking off is not nearly as bad as when the plane starts its descent.  The change in pressure can be brutal on a child’s ears.  If you have ever experienced it, you might be more understanding.  It is especially difficult if it is a baby you are trying to pacify.  You can’t tell them to suck on a lollipop or to chew gum, as you might offer to an older child.

The best thing you can do is, if you are a nursing mother, nurse the baby as the plane is descending.  If the baby is bottle fed, then offer them that.  You need to get them sucking before the plane starts its descent.  The idea is to keep the ears clear before they block up.  Once they do the best thing you can do, unfortunately for those seated around you, is let them cry.  The crying can actually clear up their ears.  Be prepared for after you land that the crying might continue.  Sometimes it can hurt for hours or longer.  Plugged ears are painful. 

If your child shows any signs of a cold or possible ear infection, and if the child is old enough, give them a decongestant about a half hour before you board the plane.  It is best to keep the child awake both when you take off and when you prepare to land.  With older children, make a game of trying to yawn or give them chewing gum.

For the baby, remember to bring your bottle empty and prepare to buy juice/milk or whatever past the security desk.  They won’t allow you to bring liquids past security!  The most important thing is that you keep calm.  Don’t worry about those around you, if they are parents they should understand and if they aren’t there is pretty much nothing you can do to stop your baby from crying other than what you have tried.  Just hold them (the airline staff will advise you on the appropriate hold) and keep calm.  Once you have landed it will all be over!