However, while flying to Key West recently, I noticed several of the babies who had been in such good moods before takeoff, immediately began to cry as the plane started to pressurize.
Well, not surprising that since they have smaller ear canals, the pain from pressurization would cause more problems for them than for most adults, and explaining what is going on to a child less than four or five years old isn't going to help at all!
So, just what are you supposed to do. Well, if you have a child who is still using a pacifier, it would be helpful if the child was sucking on it both during takeoff and landing pressurization. It can be very helpful. For a child who doesn't use a pacifier, a lollipop can be a lifesaver. They will be happy to suck on the sweet treat, and at the same time will probably have much less problem with the pressure in their ear canals. Older children can chew sugarless gum.
It doesn't always fix the problem completely, but it can certainly help. You might want to consider ear plugs for some children (some will not go along with this however). Usually this works for the children who are a little older. If your child has a cold or has recently had a cold a trip to your physician for a good decongestant could head of some uncomfortable moments for your child.
One sad and true fact is that the crying DOES help relieve the pressure in the child's ears, even if it doesn't relieve the tension in you and other passengers.