Most of us would never drug our kids, right? That’s the stuff of tabloid headlines, not good parenting. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves until we’re getting on an airplane with an overtired, agitated toddler who just can’t seem to settle down.
Then the bottle of children’s Benadryl in your first aid kit starts looking awfully appealing. Surely that kid has a little sniffle, right? A precautionary dose of Benadryl couldn’t hurt. If it happens to make her sleep through the flight, so much the better.
Benadryl is the secret weapon of the traveling parent. It’s a pretty open secret, too. According to a recent Today Show/Parenting.com survey. 1 in 5 moms admitted to drugging their babies to get through a big event like a plane ride or long car trip. This dirty secret isn’t all that evil, turns out. Even our doctor was among the chorus of voices encouraging me to deploy a little liquid slumber for the kids when we travelled to Argentina last year.
I toughed out the 16-hour flight sans meds, but on another trip when the kids actually did have colds and were crying about their congested ears even before we got on the plane, I was quick to hand out some chemical comfort. It seemed like the better part of mercy for them and our fellow passengers. Drugging your kid on a long trip seems to be one of those desperation moves many good parents make.
Today’s mom blog talked to NBC’s medical editor, who said:
“I suspect that one in five is low,” said Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s chief medical editor, who says parents should talk to their pediatricians about proper dosage. (She adds that every doctor she knows who’s also a parent has tried this trick at some point, so don’t feel shy about telling your doctor.)
So fine. Lots of parents break out the Benadryl for plane rides. Warning: it can backfire. Benadryl makes most kids sleepy, but it can make other children downright hyper. So don’t try it as a sleeping draught unless you know how your kid reacts to it and your doctor says its safe.
Here’s a more disturbing stat from the same study: one in 12 moms fessed up to drugging her kids at bedtime on a regular night at home, just to get them to sleep faster.
While I can see doing it on a plane ride – desperate times call for desperate measures – doing it at home seems pretty wrong. Sure, it’s unlikely to do any physical harm to the kids. But it feels like a parenting problem. If you can’t put your kids to sleep without knocking them out with Benadryl, something is up. Am I right?
Is there anything wrong with dosing your kids with an over the counter medication to get them to sleep?
Photo: mind on fire