22 doctors weighed in:

How can I protect my baby's ears when we fly?

22 doctors weighed in
Dr. Kevin Windisch
Pediatrics
4 doctors agree

In brief: Sucking

Give your baby something to suck on while the plane is ascending and descending.
A bottle, pacifier or breast will help to equalize the pressure in the ears and decrease discomfort for your child.

In brief: Sucking

Give your baby something to suck on while the plane is ascending and descending.
A bottle, pacifier or breast will help to equalize the pressure in the ears and decrease discomfort for your child.
Dr. Kevin Windisch
Dr. Kevin Windisch
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Dr. Jason Perkel
Pediatrics
2 doctors agree

In brief: Drink or chew

You don't have to "protect" the babies ears since nothing will happen that will be serious during pressurized airline travel.
They may have discomfort just like adults do during the ascent and descent phases of the trip. To minimize this, have the baby nurse or take the bottle at these times. By sucking, they will equalize the middle ear pressure which will make it less painful.

In brief: Drink or chew

You don't have to "protect" the babies ears since nothing will happen that will be serious during pressurized airline travel.
They may have discomfort just like adults do during the ascent and descent phases of the trip. To minimize this, have the baby nurse or take the bottle at these times. By sucking, they will equalize the middle ear pressure which will make it less painful.
Dr. Jason Perkel
Dr. Jason Perkel
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Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics
2 doctors agree

In brief: Feeding may help

The air pressure in the middle ear (on the inner side of the eardrum) can have trouble getting in or out, when the airplane goes down or up.
The pressure in the ear causes pain. Swallowing or yawning can help get rid of the pressure, by helping air go in or out of the middle ear through the eustachian tube (which opens into the back of the throat). Pressure may be worse during an ear infection.

In brief: Feeding may help

The air pressure in the middle ear (on the inner side of the eardrum) can have trouble getting in or out, when the airplane goes down or up.
The pressure in the ear causes pain. Swallowing or yawning can help get rid of the pressure, by helping air go in or out of the middle ear through the eustachian tube (which opens into the back of the throat). Pressure may be worse during an ear infection.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Dr. Robert Kwok
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Dr. Cory Annis
Internal Medicine & Pediatrics
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Sucking

Your baby needs to be actively swallowing on take-off and landing to equalize the pressure in his ears, similar to the way you yawn or chew gum and swallow.
Your baby doesn't know to do this voluntarily.

In brief: Sucking

Your baby needs to be actively swallowing on take-off and landing to equalize the pressure in his ears, similar to the way you yawn or chew gum and swallow.
Your baby doesn't know to do this voluntarily.
Dr. Cory Annis
Dr. Cory Annis
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1 doctor agrees

In brief: Swallowing

If you are breastfeeding, most babies will latch at takeoff and landing.
If your baby is formula feeding, you can try feeding as well. If baby takes a pacifier, this may stimulate enough swallowing to reduce the pressure behind the ear drums. For older kids, you can bring gum (the dentists like gums with xylitol). Or this might be the time to make an exception and offer a lollipop!

In brief: Swallowing

If you are breastfeeding, most babies will latch at takeoff and landing.
If your baby is formula feeding, you can try feeding as well. If baby takes a pacifier, this may stimulate enough swallowing to reduce the pressure behind the ear drums. For older kids, you can bring gum (the dentists like gums with xylitol). Or this might be the time to make an exception and offer a lollipop!
Dr. Victoria Acharya
Dr. Victoria Acharya
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Dr. Jeffrey Min
Pediatrics
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Sucking

The concern with babies flying is that they are unable to easily equalize the pressure in their ears with the surrounding air pressure, and this can lead to them being uncomfortable and fussy.
The recommendation is that babies suck on something (breast feed, take a bottle, take a pacifier) to help equalize the pressure on take off and landing when pressure changes are greatest.

In brief: Sucking

The concern with babies flying is that they are unable to easily equalize the pressure in their ears with the surrounding air pressure, and this can lead to them being uncomfortable and fussy.
The recommendation is that babies suck on something (breast feed, take a bottle, take a pacifier) to help equalize the pressure on take off and landing when pressure changes are greatest.
Dr. Jeffrey Min
Dr. Jeffrey Min
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1 doctor agrees

In brief: Avoid flying if sick

Avoid flying with a baby with a cold or ear infection that will increase the chances of having ear pain.
If you must travel with a sick child, talk to your doctor to see if you can get ear drops to help ease the pain. In any event make sure the baby sucks or drinks as the plane goes up and down, as it is the change in pressures that make us feel pain in our ears.

In brief: Avoid flying if sick

Avoid flying with a baby with a cold or ear infection that will increase the chances of having ear pain.
If you must travel with a sick child, talk to your doctor to see if you can get ear drops to help ease the pain. In any event make sure the baby sucks or drinks as the plane goes up and down, as it is the change in pressures that make us feel pain in our ears.
Dr. Josephine Ruiz-Healy
Dr. Josephine Ruiz-Healy
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In brief: Suckling

Any sucking manner that allows the baby to swallow with equalize pressure and help the babies ears when flying.
Dont worry if they are sleeping often there is no need to do this especially in short flights where the plane doesnt go to high.

In brief: Suckling

Any sucking manner that allows the baby to swallow with equalize pressure and help the babies ears when flying.
Dont worry if they are sleeping often there is no need to do this especially in short flights where the plane doesnt go to high.
Dr. Richard Lippmann
Dr. Richard Lippmann
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Dr. Paul Trani
Pediatrics

In brief: Pacifier

Your baby will need to mimic swallowing (much like you) when you're flying in order to maintain constant middle ear pressure.
Try a pacifier or breast-feed shortly after take-off. If this isn't an option, you can always pre-treat your child with Acetaminophen to ensure your child's comfort.

In brief: Pacifier

Your baby will need to mimic swallowing (much like you) when you're flying in order to maintain constant middle ear pressure.
Try a pacifier or breast-feed shortly after take-off. If this isn't an option, you can always pre-treat your child with Acetaminophen to ensure your child's comfort.
Dr. Paul Trani
Dr. Paul Trani
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Dr. Sarah Kohl
Travel Medicine

In brief: Suck during descent

Infants and toddlers have difficulty relieving the pressure differences in their ears when flying.
This can become very painful. Allowing your child to feed or suck on a pacifier while descending can help relieve ear pressure problems. You can also give your child an appropriate dose of pain reliever, such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen prior to departure "just in case" pain develops.

In brief: Suck during descent

Infants and toddlers have difficulty relieving the pressure differences in their ears when flying.
This can become very painful. Allowing your child to feed or suck on a pacifier while descending can help relieve ear pressure problems. You can also give your child an appropriate dose of pain reliever, such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen prior to departure "just in case" pain develops.
Dr. Sarah Kohl
Dr. Sarah Kohl
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Dr. Mark Diamond
Pediatrics

In brief: Sucking

Sucking something on the way up and the way down seems to help clear the eustachian tubes.
Occasionally use of saline nose rops prior to the flight helps.

In brief: Sucking

Sucking something on the way up and the way down seems to help clear the eustachian tubes.
Occasionally use of saline nose rops prior to the flight helps.
Dr. Mark Diamond
Dr. Mark Diamond
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Dr. Pamela Lindor
Pediatrics

In brief: Ear pressure

Everyone has ear pressure while flying.
Babies can relieve the pressure easily by crying. Also, if you have the baby suck or drink during take off and landing, it will help to prevent pressure build up.

In brief: Ear pressure

Everyone has ear pressure while flying.
Babies can relieve the pressure easily by crying. Also, if you have the baby suck or drink during take off and landing, it will help to prevent pressure build up.
Dr. Pamela Lindor
Dr. Pamela Lindor
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Dr. Lisa Roberts
Pediatrics

In brief: Feed going up/down!

The best thing you can do to decrease your baby's chance of haivng any ear pain during a flight is to time your feedings for take off and landing.
If your baby is nursing or taking a bottle during those times, it will help to open the eustation tube to alleviate pressure changes as the plane ascends and descends.

In brief: Feed going up/down!

The best thing you can do to decrease your baby's chance of haivng any ear pain during a flight is to time your feedings for take off and landing.
If your baby is nursing or taking a bottle during those times, it will help to open the eustation tube to alleviate pressure changes as the plane ascends and descends.
Dr. Lisa Roberts
Dr. Lisa Roberts
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