Sunday, March 25, 2012

Enforced Nap Time!

Hey, I have a poll that has nothing to do with baby names! Have you ever drugged your kids for a flight or long trip? Or do you remember your parents ever doing it to you?

I keep reading/hearing lately about the controversy re: people giving their kids Bendryl before long flights to avoid any meltdowns and the subsequent annoyance of strangers. It's something I had never even thought about, but I haven't flown with a child since Addy was six months old, and we didn't worry at all since she was a very mellow baby and it was only a two hour flight.

Apparently some people think it's a normal "parent" thing, kind of like lying to your kids about how much candy YOU'VE eaten, and that it's harmless. I know my own sister, who lives in Charleston, once complained bitterly about a screaming toddler on her flight to the Midwest and wondered aloud why on earth the mom hadn't given him some meds before the flight. She seemed to think this was standard practice when traveling with kids. I even remember my doctor saying something before the flight we took with Addy about how if we wanted to give her a teensy bit of Bendryl it "wouldn't be the worst thing."

Other people think it's appalling and they can't believe people would so breezily discuss drugging their own kids to avoid having to deal with them. I have to admit this was MY first reaction. (One comment I read about it did give me pause though: this guy said something like, "Heck, I take Bendryl before flights! Don't tell me drugging my kids is inhumane. I say the flying experience now IS inhumane, for everyone, and we should all get to be as knocked out as possible!" Hard to argue that one.)

Several doctors and pediatricians weighed in too, both for and against, so it left me still unsure if it's something I'd ever consider for my own kids. At the moment my plan is simply, "Don't fly, ever!" but I know that may necessarily change at some point. So what do you guys think about it? Is it creepy and potentially dangerous (giving it to too young of kids, overdosing, etc.) or is it simply doing everyone a kindness?


Sarah said...

I think I'm with the doctor who suggested that "it wouldn't be the worst thing". Apart from the drowsiness factor, it can help relieve ear pressure during take off and landing which can only help.

For my toddler, I think I'd try the iPhone and a sucker first, but if that didn't help I can't say I wouldn't consider the Benadryl option. There is the risk that it won't knock him out and would only make him cranky. That's what drowsy-inducing decongestants to do me, at any rate. I don't fall asleep, but I do get short tempered. The chance of THAT happening would be enough to keep me from doing it, but if I knew it would knock him out I'd certainly consider it.

Swistle said...

I wouldn't want to give a child inappropriate or not-for-children medication, but I'm really fine with a dose of plain old children's-strength allergy medication---especially if even the pediatrician says it's fine. However, I haven't found it works very well anyway.

d e v a n said...

My plan is "don't fly. Ever." too. hee

My doc has suggested Benadryl for children who would NOT sleep EVER, but I never tried it. I wouldn't try it for a plane either, but I don't think it's appalling either.

Nowheymama said...

I have a child who suffers from motion sickness, and our pediatrician recommended a little Benadryl before long drives. The child no longer vomiting on car trips is priceless to me. PRICELESS. Being drowsy is just a pleasant side effect.

Scottish Twins said...

My parents drugged us with Dramamine for every trip over three hours. I remember lining up before getting in the car and holding out my hand for my mom to give us the pills. We were all usually asleep within the first thirty minutes of the trip and when we would wake up for a potty break they would drug us again. lol

I wouldn't do it with my kids, but you know I'm a freak about meds. We don't even give them for fevers. But we also don't ever travel on planes or long enough in the car to need to drug the kids.

Tracy said...

I think it depends. Yes if they are sick or had other issues. No, if I was just doing it to make them sleepy.

We've given benedryl to our kids for colds/allergies on trips in the car to MI. I wouldn't have given it to them if they didn't have any symptoms. We were hoping, secretly, that it would help them be calm.

Unfortunately, it turns out that, our older kids get hyper on it. So, there's that. (Isaac doesn't, but we rarely give him benedryl now that claritin has meds he can take instead.)

Mama Bub said...

When we went to Hawaii last summer, we gave the baby Benadryl because she was just getting over a cold and the pediatrician thought it would help keep her head from exploding, or something. She slept most of the way there, but it was also her bedtime, so who's to say that the Benadryl was the cause. We didn't give it to her on the way home because she wasn't sick anymore. She was awake and crabby for five straight hours, but I'm not sure that I would have done it any differently. I don't think "for the sake of the other passengers" is a good enough reason to medicate a child, truth be told.

Anonymous said...

Hello Sarah,

As your other sister who has to fly all the time for work - yes PLEASE drug your kids before a flight. Kids hate flying, it hurts their ears and they don't know why it hurts so it upsets them just as much as it upsets those of us who have to listen to them scream and cry for hours on end.


Jules said...

I would be all for it if I could garuntee that my kids DON'T react to Benadryl like I do. Benadryl makes me wide awake and feeling like I can clean our house, your house and run a marathon!
In truth, if a pediatrician can subtly recommend this practice, I think it's safe to say what's the harm?

Hannah said...

My cousin tried it with her son and it had the completely opposite hyper/cranky effect. I am in the never-fly-unless-absolutely-necessary camp, and when I have had to (funerals) I have found an endless supply of snacks/treats/DVDs tends to suffice. Plus, didn't they change the standards on benadryl and now you aren't supposed to give it at all to children under a year?
I'm not horrified that people d o it, I just question its actual effectiveness.

Saly said...

Well, benadryl makes 2/3 of my kids hyper rather than the desired outcome, so I would not drug before a flight. I probably wouldn't do it anyway--something about it just seems icky to me. Luckily, like their father, all 3 of my kids have no problem sleeping on long car rides.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

I heard that some kids get hyper rather than drowsy from Benadryl so I never tried it. Didn't want to take the risk.

I don't judge it though, especially when used in moderation (reasonable dose, not that often) and extreme circumstances (long flights at bad times etc.)

bluedaisy said...

I don't think I'd do it unless I had consulted my pediatrician to get their take and to confirm a proper minimum dose. I think there would also have to be a trial run b/c meds affect different kids in different ways. All I would need is for one of mine to get the hyper effect rather than the drowsy effect! And it would have to be a longer flight. Otherwise, I think I'd bring distracting items and allow them to chew gum and hope for the best.

I don't think the whole idea is appalling but it should be well planned, not something that you just do on a whim.

Katy said...

Charlie and the twins are all good flyers--except for the time they wouldn't let me have any water because the fasten seat belt sign was on and I had all these bottles full of formula powder and nothing else!

Really, I think a lot has to do with how comfortable you are giving your child medication and why you're giving it to them.

Charlie is the king of drugs--many, many drugs--and as a result, I think I'm pretty laid back about giving your child what they need to help them function optimally. I find portable electronic devices are great if it's just an entertainment issue. If the child is genuinely frightened, then what can you do to relieve their anxiety? If Benadryl is your answer, who am I to judge? I've certainly had a little wine on a plane to calm my nerves. So, what I'm saying is. . . I've never felt the need to give my children medicine for that particular issue, but I don't judge those that do.