My son was 9 months old the first time we took him on an airplane flight. He was teething at that time so the plane trip from Spokane to Seattle to Los Angeles and finally to Manzanillo, Mexico, along with all the layovers proved to be a little exasperating. Our son cried a lot during those flights. And to make matters worse, he puked a couple of times during the flight from Seattle to L.A.
We were lucky, however. Our fellow airline passengers were very patient with us. For the most part, they looked on with sympathy and several people offered words of comfort while telling their own stories of traveling with kids.
Apparently, people on airplanes aren't always so kind. A recent CNN story, "Fly and Cry: Babies divide air travelers," noted how many airplane passengers are actually irritated by infants and small children.
"Babies should be banned from planes, movie theatres, restaurants, and any other public place for that matter," one poster wrote on CNN.com. "The rest of the world doesn't think your kid is as cute as you do."
Obviously, parents need to be responsible for their children's behavior, but sometimes, it's impossible to predict how our children might react to the plane ride.
"The other people on the plane do not have to be subjected to your child crying. It is absolutely not something that they should be expected to endure. They can't leave," Dr. Susan Bartell, a psychologist and parenting expert, told CNN.
Experts interviewed by CNN offered the following advice:
- Give a baby something to suck on during take-off and landing because infants and small children often experience a change in cabin pressure.
- Don't sedate your baby with over-the-counter medications.
- Don't forget to bring a change of clothes, baby wipes, diapers and everything your child might need to stay happy.
- If your infant starts crying during the plane ride, comfort him or her.
- Older kids need more reinforcements. Some parents like to bring a portable DVD for their children to watch television. Others try to be pro-active by bringing toys along as well as snacks and other treats.
- Talk to kids about your expectations.
- Watch that your child doesn't kick the seat in front of her or him.
What else should parents do when traveling with babies and little kids on the airplane?