Your little one may be really excited about the idea of getting on a plane and flying, but the reality may be a bit daunting.  Loud noises, grumpy adults and unfamiliar surroundings may all be a little bit scary for a child as well as the effects of flying, ear ache and possibly nausea too.  Here are some things to consider before you leave….

Preparation for the flight- dealing with nerves

  • Before you leave for the airport, talk them through what will happen at the security line – including going through the scanner
  • Talk them through how to find their seat on the plane, when to wear a seatbelt and what will happen on take-off and landing
  • Give them a book about airplanes so they can learn more about the wonder of flying and get a sense of what to expect.

Dealing with travel related illness

Motion sickness

This is a common complaint of children between ages 3 and 12.  There are a variety of treatments suitable for children include: tablets, diluting salts and wristbands.  If your child suffers from motion sickness in the car, it may be worth investing in some medication, just in case.


Flying can cause you to get dehydrated and this can happen much quicker in children and babies. This is because planes have low humidity. Take plenty of healthy drinks and bottled water.

Ear pressure

Ear pain on an airplane is caused by air pressure on the Eustachian tube. It can be worse if your child has a cold or infection.  Adults learn to ‘pop’ this pressure by swallowing or yawning. However this is not always possible for young children to understand. To relieve the pain:

  • Avoid air travel if your child has a cold.
  • If not possible make sure they have plenty to drink as dehydration can make cold symptoms worse
  • On take-off and landing feed your baby or give your child a drink or hard boiled sweets, the sucking motion helps relieve pressure
  • Teach an older child to hold their nose and blow to manually open the ear
  • Remember this can hurt so make sure it is done gently

If your child gets lost

Airports can be confusing places for a child and a lost child is every parent’s worst  nightmare. To reduce stress before your flight, consider:

  • Using a GPS tracker – this can be worn as a chip, either on their hand luggage, as a bracelet or in a watch. You can track the signal using your mobile phone.
  • For older children arrange a meeting point and provide them with the flight details so they will be able to ask for directions
  • Write your mobile phone number on your child’s arm where it can be clearly seen, so that if lost any adult that finds them will be able to contact you immediately.

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