Monday, 2 December 2013


It appears that, by some miracle, you've made it onto the plane! Now, for the arduous long journey. First of all, I have to say congratulations, because half the work is now done. Assuming your bags are all as prepared as I am hoping they are, then you should survive the flight itself in one piece. Should.

Strap that baby in!
For a start, it still amazes me that most US airlines stare blankly at me when I ask if they provide infant seat belts. For those not familiar with Australian airlines, you are likely to be shot and the plane will not leave the ground, until your little one is appropriately strapped in on your lap with the attachable belt. (a woman was actually kicked off an Australian plane recently because her child refused to wear the belt).
Im told the reason US airlines don't even let you put your belt around the two of you is because you are more likely to crush your child that way.

I digress. For those who have never heard this incredibly important piece of information, hear it now. Many babies struggle with equalising as the plane ascends and descends. The pressure builds up in their ears and causes intense pain. They cannot just blow their nose and release the pressure the same as we can and with their small ear canals, it really can be seriously excruciating. Many of us have been on planes with children in the cabin wailing for the love of god. I stress that most of the time, this is NOT you child being overtaken by a sugar hit, a panic attack or the devil himself. This is a medical situation.
Although there is not one amazing solution to this, it is highly recommended that giving your baby something to suck on during take off and landing is the best possible chance you have of avoiding the pain. Their bottle of milk, breastfeeding, a dummy, a lollipop... anything that encourages swallowing.
More often than not, as soon as the plane levels out the pain will ease but you may want to consider a small dose of baby panadol if the pain kicks in at the start of the journey and if its a long flight, maybe another dose an hour before landing.
Hopefully more passengers will become aware of this simple bit of info in time and be forgiving of a screaming child on a plane. And with any luck, the airlines will one day provide info for parents and perhaps a sucking device in advance...

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