Health Library

Categories > Children’s Health > Ear infections

How can I ease my child’s ear pain when we fly?

Here’s the science lesson: Air travel is sometimes associated with rapid changes in air pressure. Adult ears are able to equalize this pressure pretty well (the popping you may experience is evidence of your ears adjusting to it). But children’s ears are less adept at doing this (kids may also experience pain because of a brewing ear infection). To keep pain to a minimum, your child should:

  • Drink plenty of water. It forces a child to swallow, which opens up the Eustachian tubes (they connect the ear to the throat).
  • Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen half an hour before takeoff or before landing.
  • Chew gum or suck on hard candy (if your child is older than age 3).
  • Bottle-feed, breastfeed or suck on a pacifier.
  • Yawn frequently.
  • Stay awake during takeoff and landing (kids’ ears can stabilize air pressure better when they’re awake).