To sedate or not to sedate infants for air travel, that is an oft-raised question.Is it truly nobler to spurn sedatives, risk an unruly child, and bravely suffer the heartaches of stares and scorn of outraged fellow passengers?I tried cold water, standing him upright in the aisle, blowing on his face — all to no avail. Dr Roger Henderson, one of Britain’s leading medics, says parents drugging children is not a new phenomenon.‘We’ve come a long way, thank goodness, from the Victorian days of doling out opium, gin and laudanum for a good night’s sleep,’ he says.It is not clear if the infant drank any of the juice; she did not appear to suffer any ill effects.Later the mother noticed that the juice was foamy and had blue and white specks floating in it and that it tasted bitter. We know this from our surveys and observations – handing out questionnaires to hundreds of parents before flights, personal observations while walking the aisles on about 200 flights, and asking frequent flyers how often they are disturbed by crying infants.Sucking during ascent and descent of the aircraft may prevent earaches, but this is largely unproven.
Since we do not know if and when infants will cry during flights, arguably, most infants aboard would require sedating to calm the few.
Or is it more virtuous to sedate infants, perchance they’ll sleep, and endure the thousand humiliations that parental guilt is capable of self-inflicting?
One way NOT to handle crying infants during air travel occurred on an Amsterdam to Detroit flight.
Indeed, it is the first item to go in my flight bag, ahead of toothbrushes and teddy bears. You can call me selfish, irresponsible and foolhardy.
But plenty of research has shown that what fellow travellers really despise more than crying children on planes are parents who do nothing about it.