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mar 16 2010

Why does everyone hate your baby?

It might have something to do with the fact that the little tyke is wailing away on a crowded plane, and that you're doing nothing about it.

A new CNN post takes on the oh-so-divisive topic of flying with young children. Some travelers, you're probably well aware, are driven nuts by the presence of babies (the loud kind, especially) on planes. Here's the input of one commenter on CNN:

"Babies should be banned from planes, movie theatres, restaurants, and any other public place for that matter. The rest of the world doesn't think your kid is as cute as you do."

Far more helpful is the advice cited by Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician and author of Heading Home with Your Newborn, and Dr. Susan Bartell, a psychologist specializing in parenting:

• If a baby reacts to the changing cabin pressure, give it something to suck on -- a bottle or a pacifier, for example -- when the plane is taking off or making its initial descent, Shu said.

• If you can afford it, always buy a seat for your infant, instead of holding the baby on your lap, Shu advised. It's safer, and you'll have more room to maneuver, she said.

• Beware of trying to sedate a baby with over-the-counter children's medications. "People will try things to make babies sleep, like Benadryl or decongestants to help with the ears. In general, those medicines aren't recommended for kids under 2 years old," Shu said.

• Be prepared. Bring everything you need to keep a baby content, including toys and changes of clothing, and be ready to rock your child or walk around the plane with them if they cry, Bartell said.

• Always make an effort to quiet a crying baby. "If other people see you trying, even if you're not succeeding, they will feel at least you're ... doing your best to stop it. And they'll have some sympathy for you," Bartell said.

What, if anything, has worked for you while trying to keep your child content (and quiet) on a flight?

For example, my wife and I never opt for the "courtesy pre-boarding" with our kids. Why? That's just more time on the plane. Instead, we run the kids around the terminal and try to tire them out before we're all locked on board in a confined space for a few hours. A fully-charged portable DVD player helps too.

Read more tips for flying with kids in The Family Travel Handbook.

Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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