We have all been in this situation before. After entering an airplane and getting situated in your seat, a woman walks in with her three unruly children and sits in the row right behind you. Perhaps you do not have children and are paranoid about the possibility of undisciplined kids running rampant on the plane. Maybe you are a parent who has a few words to say to the mother. Either way, we have all wished the children would go to sleep and not disturb the peace for the eight-hour flight, right? However, did you know that some parents who feel the same way have actually thought about drugging their kids? You heard that correctly. According to reports, some adults are feeding antihistamines to keep their children nice and sleepy on long-haul flights. Let’s take a closer look at this situation and find out more.
The Problem with Pills
You can imagine that a parent traveling with a baby on an 18-hour flight from Brisbane, Australia to the Midwestern United States would seek advice for helping the child sleep. However, according to Associate Professor Mike Starr (pediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne), many general practitioners will prescribe or recommend antihistamines to parents seeking to sedate their kids, but he strongly advises against this practice. In fact, Starr has confirmed that actual sedatives would be much safer for little ones.
After consuming antihistamines, children can experience dangerous side effects like tremors, hallucinations, and slurred speech.
Although alternative medications exist, Starr still prefers prescription tranquilizers or sedatives to keep the child quiet on long-hour flights. However, he has also emphasized how a child’s first flight should be traumatic and should provide good memories (not recollections of drowsiness and nausea). Also, keep in mind that medications like sedatives (particularly benzodiazepine) can be extremely addictive, so drugging kids on long-haul flights is never the best option. When in doubt, just inform the other passengers about your child to put them at ease.
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