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Why Do Babies Cry On An Airplane?

Ever wondered why babies cry on an airplane?

Those of us who fly frequently have probably been on board a flight when a baby starts to cry, often uncontrollably. Yawn

But why, and what can we do?

For parents and grandparents it can be terribly distressing, both because of the discomfort of the baby, and the impact on other passengers.

Sometimes it helps to have an expert opinion. At AARDY our CEO is Jonathan Breeze, a former Royal Air Force Pilot and Instructor Pilot.

His advice follows... - Look after your baby. - Ignore everyone else on board the aircraft and worry about the baby. - Check for the usual problems. - See if you can get her to yawn.

First and foremost, try to ignore everyone else on board, unless they happen to be a helpful parent or doctor. Worry about your baby.

You already probably have a pretty good handle on what makes the baby upset normally - is she hungry, thirsty, tired? Is her skin irritated?

We all get dehydrated on an aircraft due to the dry air, so do make sure you are giving her more liquid than normal. That is the easiest thing to miss from your normal schedule - more fluids are required.

I am sure that you can work your way through those pretty quickly.

So, if not these, then it is probably airplane-induced. Most likely to do with the aircraft pressurization.

Her ears hurt. We want her to be able to ‘pop’ her ears. Easiest way is for her to open her mouth nice and wide. See if we can get her to yawn.

Set her on your lap so that she can see you, and then you start yawning, slowly and deliberately. Hopefully, she will start copying you. If so, she will quickly clear the ear pressure. If you get double-lucky she may even sleep for a while.

The aircraft cabin pressure changes from 0 feet to around 6,000 feet fairly quickly. Those with any form of inner ear problem are going to struggle with inner-ear pain. As adults we can normally self-regulate, but babies often have a problem. This is certainly exacerbated if pilots slam the thrust levers to idle in a descent - it can cause spikes in pressurization. The mark of a well-trained pilot can be seen with smooth use of flight controls, which includes thrust levers.

Smooth pilots. Yawning babies. Happy travels.

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