It’s something many travellers dread hearing during a flight: the sound of a screaming child.
But as peeved as other passengers may be at the disruption, there’s usually no one more upset about a crying baby or toddler than the parent who’s tried everything to soothe their child to no avail.
The most common cause of discomfort for young passengers is the feeling of needing to pop one’s ears as the cabin pressure within the plane changes, The Sun reports.
A pocket of air inside the ears can cause sharp pain as the pressure in the cabin changes rapidly during takeoff and landing. While adults can easily fix the problem quickly by yawning or swallowing, young children often struggle to understand the cause of their sudden pain.
Denya Glover, an Etihad 'flying nanny' who serves as an extra pair of hands for parents travelling with little ones, has revealed a quick and easy 'hack' to help soothe a child's ears during takeoff and landing - and all it involves is a cup of water and a tissue.
"When taking off, many children experience ear pain due to the increase in air pressure. Most parents think that ear plugs will solve the problem, but I recommend something else," she told Conde Naste Traveler.
LISTEN: The Jonesy family survived three months hiking across the desert with their one-year-old. Post continues after audio.
"Ask the flight attendant for some warm water (not too hot, not too cold), a tissue, and a cup.
"Place the wet tissue in the cup and then over the ear. The steam will relieve the pressure and soothe the pain. Happy children, happy flight!"
On a Reddit thread where parents share their fail-safe tips for travelling with kids, some parents suggested feeding during takeoff and landing to encourage a baby to swallow.
Denya - who, as a flying nanny, is a certified flight attendant who has received the same childcare training trusted by the royal family - also offered a number of other helpful tips to travelling parents, including taking advantage of the priority boarding offered to families.
"Utilise the few extra minutes to get everything settled and communicate any specific needs with your flight attendant prior to general boarding," she said.
She also encourages letting your child sleep whenever they need - "allowing your child to sleep as normal will prevent grumpiness and diminish jet lag" - and packing treats and surprises to reward good behaviour in the air.
"Offering packable surprises like stickers or sweet treats toward the end of the flight as a reward will give your child something to look forward to," she said.
Listen to the latest episode of Mamamia's parenting podcast, This Glorious Mess:
Shout out to all Dads.
Here at Mamamia we are always looking for ways to make Mamamia even better. Dads, we need you to help us do that by filling out this quick 15 min survey for us. Click the button below for your say.