Flights are anyways long and exhausting. Add in the long hours, sitting in the same posture and the pressure on your body being at such a high altitude- you need a whole day’s rest to recover! If it is so bad for us, just think about your smallies… Did you know that kids experience excruciating ear pain during the ascent and descent of the flight? Don’t worry! These 7 tips help your kids “pop” their ears so they stay as comfortable as they can on your next flight. Soothe your infant/child’s ear ache with these techniques!
Why Do They Experience This Ear Ache?
During ascent and descent in air travel, surrounding air pressure changes are equilibrated to the pressure in one’s ears through a small tube, called the Eustachian tube. The failure to accomplish this pressure equalization can lead to pain and a significant sense of ear plugging. And so, children and particularly babies who have underdeveloped eustachian tubes, have a higher risk of ear pain during air travel.
Here Are 7 Tips To Help Them Ease This Pain:
Pack a snack for take-off and landing:
The Eustachian tube will do its job as the act of chewing and swallowing will shift the ear enough to help. For small infants, breastfeeding can help, as sucking and swallowing can help to equalize pressure more quickly. As for the older kids, make them take small bites of a snack, some sips of a drink with a straw, or keep chewing gum throughout takeoff and landing to help equalize the pressure. Remember, jaw moment is crucial.
A stuffy nose could make it more difficult for your child’s ear pressure to equalize as it blocks the eustachian tube. Your older child could blow his nose, but for your baby, using a saline spray to clear out mucus from their nose could effectively reduce the impact.
Here are some home remedies to cure chest congestion in kids:
- Humidify the room with steam for babies and steam inhalation for older kids.
- Adequate hydration
- Let the child sleep with head and chest elevated
- Tap the back
For helping the eustachian tube equalize the pressure, the sucking motion can be just as effective as chewing and swallowing. If your child is old enough, hard candy such as lollipops can be a very good option. As for the very young, a pacifier can come in handy.
Let them cry:
Crying actually helps in the process of opening the eustachian tubes. Maybe no one might appreciate the loud wails, but it will surely make the little one feel much better! Other ways to distract your kids could be to get them colouring books or give them some colours or buildings to look out for.
Try some mouth exercises:
This is mainly for older kids. Make them yawn, stretch their mouth wide, or do the Valsalva manoeuvre—a technique that involves plugging your nose and swallowing or exhaling through the nose. This is one of the techniques to help pop their ears.
Keep your baby awake:
Let the baby sleep and the flight will be the most peaceful. Are you sure? If your child’s asleep, they won’t be swallowing, chewing or yawning or any other jaw-moving activities as much as they would otherwise. Sleep could risk them an eardrum injury.
See a doctor if you suspect an ear infection before flying:
Your child may have an increased risk of ear pain during their flight if they have an ear infection prior to air travel. There is a risk of eardrum rupture too! If one’s child is sick or has an ear infection prior to air travel, they may require medical treatment with antibiotics prior to proceeding with your travel plans.
Here are some symptoms of an ear infection:
- Ear pain (especially when lying down)
- Tugging or pulling at an ear
- Trouble sleeping
- Crying more than usual
- Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
- Loss of balance
- Fever of 100 F (38 C) or higher
- Drainage of fluid from the ear
- Loss of appetite
If you notice any of these above symptoms, visit a doctor immediately.
Share this information with your parent circle. You never know when these tips will come in handy. Have a safe flight!