Elliot thinks that name is so funny. Earplanes. I am always amazed at how many people have not heard of these, and after someone inquired on Instagram (Clementine is wearing them in this picture), I thought some of you might be interested.


You can find these at just about any drugstore, and the “kids and smaller ears” size just fits Clementine, who is now 3 and, as we discovered on the way to and from Florida last month, really knows how to throw a tantrum when the airplane ascends/descends. Also, what’s with the apostrophe in the word “kids?” I know I’m no Punctuation Queen but seriously. I feel like it should be after the “s” or not at all. And Comic Sans. Really???

Anyway, they are soft-ish and have a little filter in them that allows the air to go into and out of your ear canal more gently, so while you still get a little bit of “popping” from the pressure changes, they really help a ton. They won’t really fit kids much younger than three; they need to be old enough to understand and let you put them in and such.

Actually, you want to know my secret weapon for flying with kids under three? SMARTIES. Those tiny little sour candies. I remember when Elliot was one and a half and he’d barely had a piece of candy in his life and we had to fly somewhere. I took a bag of smarties along and used one roll going up, and one roll going down, handing him a single Smarty (?) one by one until we were up in the air. The sour-ness of them makes you swallow more than other candy and they best part is that they make no mess. There’s very little choking hazard because they’re about the size of a cheerio and dissolve quickly (though, don’t give them to a child under one).


Here are some of the presents my mom gave the kids while we were in Seattle that also came in handy on the plane ride home. She made that cute pencil pouch for Clementine from Gwenny Penny‘s tutorial. Would make a great stocking stuffer, no?

Anyway, I’m sure many of you have travel tricks up your sleeve that I don’t know about, so feel free to share. Plenty of readers still have holiday traveling with small children ahead of them and would appreciate the tips!

27 thoughts on “Earplanes

  1. Thanks for the tips! Smarties are also great for bribing kids during photo sessions (if you’re ever willing to lower yourself to such terrible parenting! Gasp!). They are small enough to be consumed quickly and don’t leave a mess along the face or hands.

  2. I think they’ve listed it as kid’s b/c they are using the possessive form–it’s for kid’s ears. I love these things…I don’t fly without them anymore.

    • If Kid happens to be the name of the child. Otherwise, way bad form! But yes, I see your point. It should be phrased differently altogether.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing about the ear plugs! We travel A LOT with our two two-and-a-half-year-old twins, and I had no idea this nifty little thing existed.

    I have to admit I dream of owning i a Bose head set with noise cancellation but yeah… really? When am I going to have that money to spend? Much less for the whole family!

    I’ currently working on a little toddler back pack for my DD for Christmas. Love your pattern!

  4. For long flights: DVD player with a variety of movies. The drink cart was an amazing diversion. But sometimes nothing works, no matter how many tricks you have in your bag, so chocolate for Mommy to snarf down in the midst of meltdowns is a MUST. I always travel with chocolate!

  5. We travel on long flights between Europe and the US and the best advice I was given is to pack little “presents” for the kids to unwrap along the way. Coloring books, polly pockets, dollar store little toys, etc. It’s pure bribery. “I think it might be unwrapping a present time in 15 minutes. But we have to have respectful behavior until then!” Fabulous. Works like a charm.

  6. I flew a lot when my daughter was a baby, and I found that either nursing her, or giving her a pacifier on the up and down kept her ears from popping. Now? She gets a sucker and a movie on my ipad. Rare treats!

  7. Earplanes are awesome. My doctor recommended them when I came down with a sinus infection four days before a flight to Japan. They saved me so much discomfort and pain!

  8. I don’t have kids, but we travelled a lot when I was younger, back before dvds and laptops and ipods, and my mom always gave us wikisticks to play with. I don’t know why, but we enjoyed them. Also, I loved flying because it was one of the few times we were allowed to chew gum. Watermelon bubbl yum. Loved it.

  9. Alright, I am GOING to make time to find these “earplanes” before our big trip with three kids…on an airplane…oh boy…. πŸ™‚ Love the pencil pouch! I can see where you get the sewing chops πŸ™‚

  10. It sounds crazy, but a roll of blue painters tape goes a long way . . . It can be rolled through the airport during flight delays, used to draw circles, used to make cool sculptures on the seat in front of you . . . And it peels right off.

  11. Comic Sans – last week I noticed that the ambulance car of our local hospital is lettered (don’t konw if this is the correct word) with Comic Sans…. aehm….yes.

    greetings from switzerland

  12. Last time we flew with our 7-months old, we let her tear apart the free airline magazine. Page by page. When she was done tearing we stuck the pages over the back of the seat in front of us (tucked into the traytable, the lock of the tray, etc.), and she had a blast whacking and crinkling and tearing. It did make a little bit of a mess (sorry, flight attendants!), but we didn’t have to take any of it with us when we disembarked. πŸ™‚

  13. A kid who loves a good pun? Be still my heart!
    And you can add me to the list of people who have never heard of these. Such great info to have. Thanks for sharing it!

  14. Thanks for the timely post. We’re flying transatlantic with our 20 month old next week, sitting in our laps, yikes! I had thought of a roll of scotch tape but painters tape is such a better idea. I’m thinking of little toys “wrapped” in little brown paper lunch bags. Some new toys; some old favorites. I remember when I was a kid and we flew to England a lot my mom would get a round tin of hard candies. We only ever had them on the plane and to this day I feel like it’s kind of sacrilege to eat them when my feet are on the ground.
    *And I’m in the middle of making a backpack for a nearly 3-year old for Christmas. It’s such a great pattern. thank you!*

  15. That’s a great recommendation – we’re not flying anywhere soon, but our daughter is frightened to pop her ears herself on the descent – I might just buy some to remind me that they exist for next time!!
    And yes, it should be Kids’ Ears. And any other font. πŸ˜‰

  16. I am so disappointed with this blog, I’ve been reading your blog and checking your posts daily since you first started the blog in, what was it? 07? 08? I follow closely only 3 other blogs and it’s sp disappointing when they blog everyday and we get a post from you every 2 weeks.
    Sorry Rae but you really are losing people.

    • HAHAHA really?!?!?!? You just gave me a good laugh, Ally. Thanks, I needed that. Rae can blog whenever she wants! It’s the holiday season, for pete’s sake! Lots of stuff going on in peoples’ lives, especially those of us mamas with little ones that want to do things like bake cookies and go look at lights and watch them sing in Christmas programs!

    • An RSS reader might do you wonders. (I use Google Reader). Check the RSS reader daily, and you’ll see which of your favorite bloggers has posted. You’ll always have something to read, and you won’t be annoyed at the bloggers who are currently baking Christmas cookies with their kids.

  17. I was one of those children for whom airplane ascent/descents were horrific. The pressure on my ears was excruciating, and even occasionally as an adult I have a big problem with the descent to the point of tears and rocking back and forth to endure the pain. (Especially if I happen to be sick. Any issues with your ears, nose, or throat can be hell when flying because your ears have trouble properly equalizing the pressure.) Anyway, I finally discovered Earplanes a couple years ago and now I always fly with them! I highly recommend getting a pair for everyone in the family, just in case.

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