Why Do Babies Hate Planes? The Science Behind Infant Air Travel Anxiety

  • By: Sandra
  • Date: March 18, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Do you remember your first flight? For most people, it is an exciting experience. But what about babies? Why do they often cry and seem so anxious during air travel?

Why do babies cry on airplanes?

It’s not entirely clear why babies hate planes, but it could be because the change in air pressure is uncomfortable for them. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to help make your baby more comfortable on a plane.

Ear pain Due to Air Pressure

One common problem for babies during air travel is ear pain. This can be caused by the change in air pressure, and it can be very painful for your baby. Adult ears can adjust to the change in pressure, but the baby’s infantile eustachian tube is still developing and they can’t do this as easily.

Babies scream on aircraft mostly because the lower pressure presses down on their sensitive ears. Babies’ ears are more sensitive than adults’ ears, and they are generally unable to equalize their ears in the same way that adults can.

A babies middle ear contains a eustachian tube which is about half the size of adults. This small tube helps to equalize the air pressure on both sides of your baby’s eardrum.

When the cabin pressure changes, it can be difficult for your baby to open this tiny tube. This can cause pain and a feeling of fullness in your baby’s ears. The Eustachian tube is a canal that connects the middle ear to the nasopharynx (upper throat and rear of the nasal cavity).

You can help your baby equalize the atmospheric pressure in their ears by nursing or giving them a pacifier during takeoff and landing. This will help your baby open their eustachian tube and relieve the pressure on their eardrums.

Babies Hate Change

Another possible reason for babies’ anxiety during air travel is that they hate change. For babies, air travel is a completely new experience. They are leaving their home and family behind and going to a place they have never been before. This can be very scary for them.

You can help your baby adjust to air travel by explaining what is happening ahead of time. Talk to your baby about the plane ride and show them pictures of planes. Let them know that they will be going on a special trip and that you will be with them the whole time.

Motion sickness

Another problem that babies sometimes experience while flying is motion sickness. This can be caused by the motion of the plane, and it can cause your baby to vomit or have diarrhea. You can help prevent this by keeping your baby in a sitting position during the flight, and avoiding giving them any food or drink that might make them sick.

Turbulence

Turbulence can also be a cause of anxiety for babies during air travel. This sudden movement can be very scary for them and can cause them to cry or become agitated. You can help your baby feel more comfortable by holding them in your arms and reassuring them that everything is okay.

Time Zone Changes & Just General Tiredness

Babies can also be tired and cranky during air travel due to time zone changes. When you fly across time zones, your baby’s body clock is thrown off balance. This can cause them to become irritable and have difficulty sleeping.

They Sense Your Stress

Finally, it’s possible that babies hate planes because they sense their parents’ stress. Babies are very sensitive to the emotions of their caregivers, and they can often pick up on their parents’ anxiety.

You can help reduce your baby’s anxiety by staying calm. Try to relax and enjoy the flight. If you start to feel stressed about stressing other passengers, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that your baby is safe with you.

Your fellow passengers might not appreciate your baby screaming but most will understand that you have an unhappy baby and there is little you can do when a baby is crying on the plane. I once had a lovely old lady sitting next to me and she just smiled and said, babies, will be babies. The relief was overwhelming! Most airlines now have bassinets that you can put your baby in if they are really uncomfortable.

How to Stop Your Baby Crying On a Plane

If your baby is crying during air travel, there are a few things you can do to help. First, try to comfort your baby and give them some of their favorite toys or pacifiers. You can also try singing or talking to them in a calming voice. Follow these tips to help your baby stop crying:

1) Make sure your baby is well-fed and has a clean diaper before boarding the plane. This will help reduce their discomfort during take-off and landing.

2) Give your baby plenty of fluids to drink during the flight. This will help keep them hydrated and may also help relieve some of the pain caused by air pressure changes on their ears. If you are breastfeeding your baby, nursing your baby during take-off and landing will help.

3) Try to keep your baby calm and relaxed during the flight. Sing lullabies, read stories or give them a massage to help soothe them.

How do you calm a baby on a plane?

It can be tricky to calm a baby on a plane, but there are a few things you can do. Some parents find that giving their baby a pacifier or using white noise can help soothe them. You can also try to walk your baby up and down the aisle or for older children let them watch some videos on an iPad.

Whatever you do, don’t get frustrated if your baby starts to cry. Babies often cry during air travel because it is a new and unfamiliar experience for them. Stay calm and relaxed, and your baby will likely follow your lead.

Where should you sit on a plane with a baby?

If you are traveling with a baby, it is important to choose your seat wisely. You will want to sit somewhere near the aisle so that you can easily get up and down if needed to soothe your crying baby.

You should also avoid seats near the engine or in the front of the plane, as these areas can be quite noisy.

Also babies hate the sun, so getting an aisle seat away from the window might help.

What are the rules for babies flying?

The rules for flying with a baby can be a bit confusing, but here are the basics:

  • Babies under two years old do not need their own seat and can travel on an adult’s lap.
  • If your baby is over two years old, they will need their own seat and you will need to purchase a ticket for them.
  • If your baby is over two years old and will be sitting in your lap, you will need to purchase a ticket for them.
  • Babies must have their own passport if they are traveling internationally.
  • It is always a good idea to bring along your baby’s birth certificate and other important documents just in case there are any problems.

Why can’t newborns fly on planes?

This policy is down to your flight company and they all have different rules. Most are stricter when it comes to premature infants and don’t allow these to fly without medical clearance before six months.

Take Away for Travelling with A Crying Baby

Remember don’t worry, most of the time your baby is probably crying because the change in air pressure caused their middle ear to hurt. You can help soothe them by following the tips above. And, if all else fails, try to relax and enjoy your flight!

The pain is short term and your child will soon bounce back once you have landed. Kids tend to get used to the change in air pressure over time so don’t worry if your child is a little fussy on your next flight. Just try some of the tips above and they will hopefully be more comfortable.