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Top tips on travelling with kids on planes

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Going on holiday is fun for all the family but getting there by plane can sometimes be far from it. In fact a recent poll showed more than half of passengers wanted a separate section for families!

It’s understandable to some extent. No-one wants to spend hours sitting next to a screaming baby, whiny toddler or bored seven year old, least of all their parents.

Travel writer Simon Calder from the Independent newspaper doesn’t see a problem, " Children on planes? A good thing, as long as they’re not actually flying the thing. For a start they take up less room and in my experience they behave considerably better than some adults. And by, these days, paying a full fare even though they're small, they effectively subsidise the rest of us."

If you are prepared, know what to expect and have a few tricks up your sleeve kids and planes can be a good mix rather than a nightmare.

My ears hurt

Ear pain is a problem for many of us on planes and even more so for children.

One study found that one in five adults had some ear problems when they travelled by air and twice as many children did.

The pain can be especially bad at take off and before landing, but it will probably go away quite quickly once you're on the ground. There are some things you can do to try to stop your ears hurting when you fly.

You get the pain when the pressure inside your ear isn't the same as the pressure outside your ear.

If you swallow or yawn it helps to equalise the pressure.

For a baby, breast or bottle feeding as the plane takes off or lands is a good idea. It comforts the child as well as helping to release the ear pressure.

For an older child give them a sweet to suck or some chewing gum and reassure them that the pain is temporary and will go away.

You can also buy special ear plugs or a nasal balloon which may help reduce the pain.

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