Parenting Tips

10 tricks to help children relieve Ear pain while in airplane

How to lessen the ear pain while in aeroplane

Airplanes and the mystery of ear pain

Hey friends, I’m back with  some amazing travel memories which shall be posted on our Travel blog . One thing which pinched me some times before with my 3year old kid was the “Ear Pain” he suffered for small duration while the airplane takes off and while landing. There were some tricks I applied, which for sure reduced the pain to some level and he did not create a panic for those moments this time. I’m sure everyone of us have been experiencing these ear pains, but handling small kids while ascend and descend of the flight goes terrible.

This prompted me to share some of the tricks I used, with other parents or even adults. But before that, let’s all understand the reason as to why does the ear pain occurs while landing and take off?

Why does Ear pain happens in airplane?

Our ear has three parts basically, The Outer, Middle and Inner ear. (Remember, we all read it in Science when we were small?). Usually the air pressure inside the inner air and outside is same, since there is a tube called – Eustachian Tube which helps in maintaining the ear pressure.

It all happens because, when the plane takes off, the air pressure in the inner ear crosses that of the air pressure outside. [Remember, the air pressure gets lower at higher altitudes and hence the breathing becomes difficult on high altitudes]. This causes the Eardrum to swell outwards and causes ample pain and muffled sounds. Opposite is the process while the plane lands and the eardrum goes inward. Till the time this ear pressure is not balanced with the sudden altitude change, it continues to bother us and creates panic in babies for small durationsWhile landing, the air pressure in the cabin increases. But those few minutes seem unconsolable, atleast I felt so earlier.

Further, kids have narrow Eustachian tubes and they might have it partly blocked due to Cold or Ear infection. In such cases, one should try avoiding flights and travel in planes only if necessary.

How to reduce the Ear Pain in child while in Airplane?

Let’s get onto some tricks I used to follow & applied on my kid, while in flight & some atleast 30-40minutes before the scheduled take off.

1. Drink ample water or juices (Not coffee or caffeinated drinks) :

Drink plenty of fluids before & while in flight. The reason being very simple, drinking stimulates swallowing which helps de-clogging or opening of Eustachian tubes to have a healthy maintenance of Ear air pressure. Get your child to sip water frequently and more during take off and landing. Children can have fun by sipping juices as well.

2. Yawn and swallow :

Try for the artificial yawns, as you yawn the air pressure gets balanced slowly. Swallowing as shared in point 1, helps really significantly in lowering the ear pain.

3. Why not treat them with the Hard candies or Lollypops little before landing?

Oh yes, its not a party place but then sucking the lollypops have to be given credit to help maintaining the air pressure due to consistent swallowing. My kid enjoyed his landing party time with his favourite lolly:).

4. Love chewing?

This can be suitable for kids above 3 or more years who know that chewing gums can just be chewed and not let it pass in the food pipe. Try giving kids chewing gums little before take off and landing. This trick I used to follow sometimes.

5. Pacifier / Breastfeeding /Bottle feeding :

Incase you are travelling with your infant/toddler, make sure that you give him either of these three options. While bottle feeding, a child should sit straight rather than in a sleeping position. Breastfeeding helps tons, this is what I did in airplane till my kid was 2 years while take off and landing.

6. Don’t sleep, stay awake and talk to your kid :

Simple reason, while sleeping, we don’t swallow much so keeping the air pressure in the middle air becomes difficult. If your baby is sleeping, try feeding him breast/bottle milk so that he swallows.

7. Special Ear plugs :

Ear pressure regulating ear plugs  – Well, these are available for both adults and child, check them out. They basically slow down the pressure change and hence the effect and ear pain reduces. My husband had used them this time and he was pretty comfortable. Insert them in the ear properly and as recommended. Get one for yourself on amazon.

8. Breathing Exercise :

This is my favorite and I do it every time I travel in airplane. But this could be somewhat not compatible with small children, although try out at home once with them. Incase kids are comfortable, do it while takeoff and landing.

Breathe in, then pinch the nostrils part of the nose and then try to exhale through the nose keeping mouth closed. There will be some force but don’t exert extra force as it might hamper the ear drum. As you try exhaling through pinched nose, you’ll feel that the air pressure is getting balanced and the ear opens with ear pain being relieved.

9. Decongestant’s :

One can try out Decongestant’s atleast an hour before the flight takes off, even nasal spray helps a bit. Check out on your spray/kid’s spray with your doctor.

10. Mild Pain relievers :

If you feel that nothing seems to work and your child is in a lot of pain, then give him mild pain relievers. But give only after discussing with your paediatrician.

Hope some of these points work out successfully for you and children to relieve the ear pain in flight. May you have a pleasant flight and inflight experience.

Happy Travelling with Kids! Say bye bye to ear pain now!

10 tips to reduce the ear pain while airplane lands and takes off

  1. lifeshelives11

    These are great tips! I don’t have kids myself, but do sometimes suffer from ear pain while traveling – and I fly a good deal! I usually find that chewing gum helps me, and yawning to sort of trigger that ‘ear pop’ feeling.

  2. Nina

    Every time I fly, there’s always kids crying. I’m not complaining at all as I know it’s stressful for them and they could also have ear pain. I was somewhere and there was a kid with ear problems. They got a cup of steaming water and had the kid hold it up to his ear. That can sooth the pain, apparently.

  3. Tammymum

    These are some excellent tips. I always let my little boy have his dummy at take off and landing as it really helps. I have let them have a lollipop in that past or rather a passenger gave it to them! Like you say it helps so I didn’t mind

  4. Marcie

    Great tips! Neither my kids seem to be bothered with their ears when we fly, but they usually are snacking throughout the flight, so maybe all that swallowing pays off.

  5. thesaltymamas

    My daughter really suffered from ear pain on her last flight. She’s flown dozens of times and we’ve been fine, so I was very surprised! Love having these tips available in case it happens again next time!

  6. Stephanie Eiler

    These are such great tips! I remember as a child getting horrible ear pain on planes, and I still do today. I will definitely remember these when I have a little one of my own someday!

  7. TheMrsTee

    Thank You!! These are great tips! My oldest daughter hates flying because she suffers so much from ear pain. Perhaps these tips will help me make that less of an issue for her on our next flight.

  8. taylermorrell

    I’ve been very lucky. I have two kids–a three year old and a seven month old. WE’ve flown a handful of times, and neither kid has ever had an issue with take off or landing. We are so GRATEFUL for that!

  9. Jyo

    These are such great tips for when traveling with kids!! I’m expecting my first and am eager to travel with our kid 6 months in, I’m going to bookmark this page!

  10. Nisha Malik

    Yes Kids are quite prone to ear pain during flights. I try to make my son chew on something eatable. Your tips are great and really practical

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