HOW TO: Fly Cross-Country With Small Children (Without Benadryl) – 6 tips

Tips To Alleviate Ear Pressure For Kids on Takeoff and Landing, Bobble bottle, Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops, Natursutten Pacifier, Dr Weil Sippy Cup, Dr. Weil bottle


1. De-pressurize little ear canals with boob / bottle / lollipops
Parents of babies know that the boob or the bottle is the best solution to alleviating ear-pressure build-up in the tiny ear canals of infants, but what to do about toddlers who are no longer nursing or using a bottle? Older children still face the same issue of ear-pressure build-up, and they don’t have the necessary motor skills to relieve this pressure themselves (and no, you should not offer them gum), so help them out with something else they can suck or chew on. Drink bottles (my son loves his Bobble) and organic lollipops make good pacifiers for older children. As an added bonus, they help to zip little lips and provide distraction during take-off and landing.

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2. Dr. Seuss is Your Best Friend
Obviously if you have a child you are familiar with Dr. Seuss, and I probably don’t have to explain why his books are excellent for long trips in planes and cars. But for those of you who haven’t caught Seuss fever – here’s why its especially good to visit the Doctor before embarking on a long journey:

+ Dr. Seuss books are long (meaning you can knock down 30 minutes with one book) but never boring.
+ Dr. Seuss books are silly, rhyme-y and will get your tot laughing.
+ Dr. Seuss books pack a lot of reading time into a small, lightweight package – meaning you can get way more distraction time out of a Seuss than a 2 minute board book.
+ Dr. Seuss books have fun illustrations and great moral messages mixed in to the silliness.

Here are some of my favorite Seuss books for car and plane trips: Oh The Places You’ll Go, The Lorax, The Sneetches, If I Ran The Circus, The Birthday Book, Horton Hears a Who, and The Cat In The Hat Comes Back (and he has 26 miniature cats hidden inside his hat like Russian nesting dolls!!!!)

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12 Responses to “HOW TO: Fly Cross-Country With Small Children (Without Benadryl) – 6 tips”

  1. Yuka Yoneda says:

    I think some of these tips could work on my boyfriend as well.

  2. Julie Seguss says:

    Smart ideas, especially taking photos and looking at pics. Kids love that!

  3. Beth Shea says:

    LOL Yuka. I think the key point for any age is to pack snacks galore! I’ll be using the surprise gifts tip too! Thanks!

  4. toneill says:

    Also check out the First Flight audio download here:

    Great for reducing the likelihood of meltdowns from the strange new sounds encountered during travel.

  5. shersher says:

    We’ve passed many a 1/2 hour playing “I spy with my little eye.”

  6. athena says:

    other ideas for toddlers that help esp during takeoff & landing when you can’t use electronic devices:
    in a ziploc-sized reusable bag, have crayons/markers (clementine), small writing pad (ecojot), a half dozen lego blocks, a travel-sized container with two q-tips for him/her to pull out & put in (discovered this by accident–more environmental option probably could be imagined), 1-2 small toys (we have a tiny wind-up train that i had as a child and a plan toy bus), and stickers (we use free ones sent in mail solicitations that would be trash anyway). only pull out this bag at takeoff and landing–otherwise, the novelty wears off.

  7. Crystal_Kemnitz says:

    Small children do not belong on planes. Period. There is no way to guarantee that they will not disturb dozens of people who paid full fare for a peaceful flight and they do not need the disruption of a child to ruin their trip. Leave the kid at home or wait until it’s old enough to be considerate. Selfish parent. Selfish child.

  8. Whimbrel says:

    Nice tips! I made many long plane trips with my children. Fourteen hours! Two games only needing pencil and paper are “Sprouts” and “Boxes”. Surprise gifts were timed to landmarks or an actual event. Also, I had unplanned gifts too. Changing outfits takes up some time. Backscratching, my kids liked tickles. Drawing a story they tell you. When mine were young I could cut out paper dolls. With newsprint paper you can tear out paper dolls and animals. Tapping out name that tune like Jingle Bells. Cleaning out moms purse was always a hit. My two liked to be read to into their early teens. We read The Hobbit to Australia and Jurassic Park home. My daughter later carried her Red Cross babysitter certificate to show and carried many a cranky kid up and down the aisles. Anyway anybody can think to make that time pass!

  9. hjachurch says:

    There’s nothing selfish about taking my 16 month old to Australia to see half of this family that he’s never seen before, especially a grandmother that has failing health. We need more patience and understanding in the world.

  10. Mkalos says:

    Crystal_Kemnitz: Obviously you don’t have any children or have never had a reason to fly with them. When all of your family lives a plane ride away, then YES, you will take your children on a plane. Adults can be disruptive too, but everyone on that flight has paid for their seat and deserves to be there. If you are that intolerant, then you are the one that should stay home. My children’s grandfather is dying and yes, we are taking them on a flight to go see him before it is too late. You are the selfish one if you think the world should revolve around you.

  11. christaleigh2005 says:

    UMM, Crystal_Kemnitz are you being serious? LOL.. well, unfortunately for you and all the other passengers I am an Army wife and so therefore, must travel long distances to visit my family once or twice a year and yes I have two adorable, naughty children ages 3 and 1. I am “that” mom who usually has a couple carseats, stroller, a baby with a poopy diaper, and whiney preschooler.. so get over it. Whenever I get the stink eye I just give it right back and ask What, would you like to help? I’m often travelling alone because well, my husband is busy protecting your rights and fighting for your freedom overseas or training or unable to travel with us. Your comment is very insensitive and I take major offense. The reason I came across this was because I was looking for some fresh ideas for our upcoming move to S.Korea.. a 14 hour flight! It’s not by choice hun and we all must go.. sorry in advance fellow passengers who will share our flight! Unbelievable. Thank you for the post. I will take some of these ideas and put them to use!

  12. lanainc says:

    We’ve flown to/from South America with our daughter ever since she was 3 months old (now 5 years). It’s 3 flights each way and 24 hours total travel time, and we’ve done it 10 times now. We’ve had great trips and we’ve had tough trips, it all takes patience- from everyone involved, We’ve also had some special ‘angels’ come to help us when we needed it the most. If a child (or parent) is having a tough time, please try to help. Offer your guest pass to the exec lounge to the single mom traveling with a babe in arms, offer to help her through the security line. It is thanks to those angels that traveling is bearable.

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