Crying Child

Being in a plane with a child screaming to the top of their lungs is hard on the parents and those around them. “She’s just throwing a tantrum, said the man sitting near me.  It’s her mother’s fault.” He said it loud enough for the young mother to hear the comment, too.

The little girl making all the noise was about 18 months old, and no amount of consoling from her frazzled mother would soothe her.

Being in a plane with a child screaming to the top of their lungs is hard on the parents and those around them. I was flying home from a conference in Atlanta and feeling really sorry for the young woman trying to get her child to stop crying. Just because you acquire the name “Mom” doesn’t mean you always know what to do.  It’s too bad babies don’t come with a manual. Sometimes it is just hard to pinpoint exactly why they are crying.

In this case, I don’t think the child was throwing a tantrum.  There were three other children on the plane crying at the same time.  When the plane began to take off, they were screaming uncontrollably, but then they settled down. A couple of hours later, when the plane began to land, those three children begin to cry again.

A pediatrician I spoke with from the Valley Children’s Clinic said the children were probably experiencing a lot of pain in their ears. “When the child has a cold or is congested,” he said, the fluid in the middle ear tube (the Eustachian tube) that leads to the back of the nose and upper throat doesn’t work or ventilate.  It becomes blocked, and the pressure causes the child to feel pain.” This is called barotrauma, a condition of discomfort in the ear caused by pressure difference between the inside and the outside of the eardrum. ”

The parents can help by giving the child a decongestant before they travel,” the doctor explained.  But if the parent doesn’t do that, the next best thing is to give a pacifier or bottle when the plane begins to take off and when it lands. In the case of the older child giving him a piece of gum would help to equalize the pressure.”

Planes are pressurized, and the airline stewardess told me she noticed that this often affects children, especially when landing. The man’s comment only made the mother feel worse.  I know the noise was very irritating for him and the other passengers, but she was doing the best she could.

Sometimes it is easy to criticize people from a distance.   Hearing his comment directed at the young mother made me think of how women spend most of their lives feeling guilty for what they did or did not do for their children.

There were times when our children were little that I didn’t know what to do.  They would cry or fight with one another or refuse to eat their meals, and I wished there were someone to call.   As a young mother with four children who were 18 months apart, one of my goals was to one day invent a hotline for other young mothers.

I could imagine this red button on my phone.  When I didn’t know what to do, I would press the button and say HELP!  Then someone who had already been there would patiently tell me what to do. I didn’t exactly do that, but becoming a grandmother has been a pretty close counterpart to that hotline.


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Deana Landers
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I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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Story Comments

  1. Fishy blowfish faces help with the pressure too. I try to help those parents by telling them its ok; kids' ears hurt. And sometimes I say it just a little louder so surrounding passengers might change their glares. from a frequent traveler with kids

    • Deana Landers -

      What a great way to help the kids and their parents, Linda! I was a mom with little kids that made a lot of noise, so I know how it feels. Thank you so much for your comment.Deana

  2. Rv -

    Your articles are always good.i wish to write but I don't know how to start. Guide me.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you so much for reading my stories. I have never been a writer by profession. I am a retired nurse, but I have been writing since I was a little girl. I wrote stories in a notebook of how I felt being the youngest of 11 children, the good things and the bad things. I wrote was Fr when my mom died and when I was adopted. I wrote about my fears and pain and joys over and over again throughout my life until one day I wrote a story that I felt would help others and sent it to a newspaper/. I wasn't a great writer but I had a story to tell and that opened the door for me. You can do that too.Deana

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