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Posts tagged ‘benadryl to help kids sleep’

Using Benadryl for Travel with a Toddler: A Cautionary Tale and a Little Science

I have a parenting confession to make.

Husband and I dosed BabyC with Benadryl during a flight last week.

In my last post, I wrote about what we got right on our trip. Now it’s time to come clean and tell you what we may have gotten wrong.

Before you jump to judgment, let me explain the situation. We were on a red-eye flight from Portland, OR to Newark, NJ. A 5.5 hour flight. This was the first time we had attempted a red-eye with BabyC. At the time that I booked the tickets, the red-eye was the best choice for several reasons, but I knew it was a gamble.

However, as our trip grew closer, I started to feel nervous. What if she wouldn’t sleep? What if the novel situation – being surrounded by strangers on an airplane and being held in our laps (we didn’t purchase her own seat) – was just too much for her?

I know that many frown upon the idea of “drugging” kids for smoother travel. To be honest, it is not something that I have ever considered before this trip. But several parents had told us that it worked for them, and we were feeling desperate. It wasn’t because we were hoping for a relaxing flight with cocktails and an in-flight movie. We just wanted BabyC to sleep for her sake and for the sake of our fellow passengers.

The Goal. BabyC was just 11 months in this photo, and at that age, sleep seemed to come easier on airplanes.

Don’t worry. We checked and double-checked the dosage. We knew that some kids have a “paradoxical reaction” to the antihistamine drugs found in Benadryl – turning hyper instead of drowsy – so we tested it out the night before our trip. We dosed her 30 minutes before bedtime, and she went right to sleep that night without a fuss, as usual, so we figured that either it helped her sleep a bit or had no effect.

On travel night, we gave BabyC the same dose of Benadryl while we waited at the gate to board our plane. It was 10 PM, several hours after BabyC’s bedtime, but she was busy watching the lights on the runway and the people around us. We figured that once we settled into our seats and the engines started, she would snuggle up and sleep restfully for the duration of the flight.

Unfortunately, this was not to be. Read more