You’ve thought about this, I know I have. Before B’s first long haul flight I even consulted our pediatrician about it:
Should I give my child medication to help him/her sleep on the plane?
I mean, let’s be perfectly honest, if I had a magic sleeping potion for myself – and no kids, mind you – on a long haul flight, you’d better believe I’d take it. But should you make the same decision for your child? Ultimately, it’s a personal choice, but here are some things to consider before loading up that syringe 30,000 feet in the air.
What does your pediatrician or family doctor say?
From asking friends, our own pediatrician and perusing parenting forums it’s safe to say this is a split decision. Just as many pediatricians seem to recommend it as don’t. (In case you were wondering, ours did not.) If you are determined to get a pediatrician’s approval you could probably shop around until you found one that does. However, it’s probably best to stick with a pediatrician you trust, and one that knows your child’s medical history well.
What medication would you choose?
- There are many medications that tout “drowsiness,” but the most popular one people use for traveling kids is the antihistamine, Benadryl (Diphenhydramine.) But be warned – not all who take Benadryl become drowsy. In some kids it can have opposite effect, leading to hyperactivity. It’s a good idea to test any medicine before a flight to make sure there are no adverse or dangerous reactions.
Test any medicine out before a flight to make
sure there are no adverse or dangerous reactions,
and consult your child’s pediatrician beforehand.
- Another common medication for traveling children is Tylenol (Acetaminophen) – our pediatrician did recommend this for possible ear pain and said it could have the added benefit of making a child sleepy.
- Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate) is a motion sickness medicine that helps reduce nausea, vomiting and dizziness – a must have in your travel bag if you child suffers from this. The side effect listed is “marked drowsiness.” Again, some kids may have the opposite reaction, something to know before you fly.
- Then there are the herbs. OZzzz’s is a children’s sleep aid made from a blend of Melatonin and Chamomile. We learned about these chewable tablets from a Swedish expat who frequently takes her daughter back to Sweden from the US. These don’t knock B out the way you would hope – but we like that they help him relax when it’s time to sleep. These little pills + some thoughtful travel planning (around naps and nighttime) ensure that B will get some quality shut-eye on the plane.
Why do you want to sedate your child?