Suggestions for flying with a toddler and the change in air pressue


Mar 8, 2000
Hi. My wife, my 15 month old son at time of the trip, and myself are flying to Disney world in May. The baby will be in his car seat. Thanks to these boards I got the 50% fare since he is under 2. I feel better with the baby strapped in to his chair. Anyway, my question is does anyone have any suggestions to help the baby during takeoffs and landings with the changing in air pressue and his ears. He had many ear infections this pas winter so I am waorrying about this.

I have always tried to give my daughter a bottle or sippy cup with juice/water as we are taking off. The landing is tougher since they take like 45 minutes to fully descend. But, the sucking motion is supposed to help.

If you can get them small enough (and your child will keep them in), there are Ear Planes which help to equalize the pressure (I'm not sure how, but they worked great for my 4yo daughter during the last trip). I know they have children's sizes, but I'm not sure about toddlers. Also, sipping a drink, and if there's any chance of nasal congestion, I give DD some decongestant about 30 minutes ahead of time (but since your child is under 2, I'd ask a doctor before going that route).

Good luck!

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I also bought earplanes for our upcoming trip. My hears feel like they are going to explode while flying and I am hoping that they work. I have heard rave reviews. I am not sure if they are sized for all ages....I think they have a web site, but it is cheaper to buy them at the store. i purchased mine at Walmart

My question was going to be where can I buy some of these? But if you say Walmart I'll try there first. Thanks
Our pediatrician recommended a dose of Sudafed for our toddler a half-hour before take-off to keep any fluid from building up in the ears. Our daughter also had numerous ear infections, so this was a big concern to us. The Sudafed must have worked, because she was fine! On her previous trip (before we knew about the Sudafed), she got a terrible ear infection when we landed in Orlando. It was awful - we had to take her to the doctor and get a prescription and she didn't really enjoy the first 2 days of our vacation.
The above advice is great. If your son's ears hurt midflight, ask the flight attendant for 2 styrofoam cups with hot, wet paper towels in the bottom. Hold the cups over his ears and the pain should subside. It looks funny, but it works!!

Thankyou for all the great ideas. We will talk to our doctor and see what he suggests to.
If your son uses a pacifier, that works well too. You can't always make sure that a child continually drinks from a sippy cup, but they usually will suck a pacifier or drink from a bottle.

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order a stiff scotch from the beverage cart.
for you, not the toddler <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> :D
The cups with hot cloths do work....I have had to resort to this on a couple flights....I am hopeful that the earplanes will work. My DH had to get a tube in one of his ears a few years ago because of a blockage from flying. He is part of a flight crew...The dr said he has flight crews in all the time with this prob. He suggested using Afrin right before the flight....(have to be careful with nose sprays) or something like sudafed would do the same thing. He hasn't had anymore problems....just takes a puff of Afrin if he feels his ear hurting.
erinch - way to go!!!

We gave our DD gummi bears - they're chewy but not gum. This either worked or she never had a problem with the pressure to begin with...


Judie B
I flew with my daughter 15 times between ages 9 months and 2 and 1/2. She had nearly constant ear infections until she was two, hence she had an ear infection or sinus infection every time we flew. I did the sippy cup routine (once she was too big for a bottle) and gave her an oral decongestant 45 minutes before departure time. Plus, when she was really sick, I gave her tylenol to help with pain.

Just having the child eat something (i.e. cheerios) at take-off or landing is helpful, too. You want to keep the child swallowing.
I am a flight attendant. Every time my DH flies he takes Sudafed (cold or no cold). When we travel w/ our sons 5 & 16 mos, if they have any indication of cold or teething or crankiness, I give them Pediacare, Tylenol Cold, or Motrin Cold. Generally, children on the plane have a problem with their ears on decent, not take off. If your child is sleeping, they are fine. All children will let you know if they are having a problem with their ears. Pilots and flight attendants can take Sudafed or Afrin, while at work. They are non drowsy. I did read where a person uses "hot cups". These are syrofoam cups with hot/wet paper towels in them. You place the cups over your ears and the steam goes through your sinus passages. My DH loves these. I will say, when I was hired 10 years ago my airline did not allow flight attendants to give "hot cups" to passengers. I believe someone sued an airline because the hot water burned their skin. I do not know if this is true or not. I will give "hot cups" but only if I feel there is nothing else to help. No offense, but I don't want to see any of my passengers in court. Although, my airline does allow us to give these out if the passenger asks for them. Believe it or not, crying helps clear babies ears. It unnerves the parents, though. Feel free to email me with any other questions about flying.

My son was 17 months when he flew for the first time.He had a pacifier to suck on as well as cup of juice.This helped him and he never complained of sore ears.



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