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Newborn and Infant Care

Flying with a newborn

07/12/2000

Question:

Is there any harm that can occur from taking a newborn on an airplane if they are between the age of 3 - 4 weeks old?

Answer:

One of the biggest concerns for an infant that young is the exposure to high altitudes and the change of pressure, especially as it effects the infant`s middle ear. Many infants and young children will cry on airplanes, often during take off and landing due to the sudden pressure changes. During this time it is wise to have the baby swallow by breast or bottle feeding to help relieve the pressure on the middle ear.

Another concern at this age is increased exposure to numerous persons in a confined space who may have a cold or other type of illness. The infant has good maternal stores for protection but still his or her immune system is not well developed at this very young age. Speak to your pediatrician about this trip as he or she knows you and your baby best.

It is also wise to not take the baby on such a trip if he or she has nasal stuffiness or symptoms of a head cold. This illness will only aggravate the pressure on the middle ear. Decongestants are usually not recommended at this young age.

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Response by:

Marcia   Hern, RN, EdD Marcia Hern, RN, EdD
Formerly:
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati