A Japanese airline recently conducted a research study in an effort to help prevent infants and toddlers from crying aboard planes.
The in-flight experiment, in which 34 families of employees of the four companies participated, sought to identify the indicators babies exhibit before erupting in loud squealing. This way, parents would be able to respond to them immediately, before they began crying.
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Using special equipment developed by NTT and Toray, the infants’ pulse, as well as their mental and physical condition, were checked. To detect the telltale signs, the devices were attached to the chests of the little test subjects to monitor them thoroughly. After collecting data, the gadgets sent the information to the parents’ smartphones.
A notification would then alert the parents to have the children drink a liquid through straws from Combi cups. This, in turn, would alleviate any painful ear pressure that the child may be getting, as abrupt changes in cabin pressure during ascent and descent can cause discomfort in the ears of passengers — especially in infants and children.
Such discomfort sometimes becomes so unbearable for babies that they cannot stop crying. Many families with infants and toddlers have refrained from traveling by air altogether because of this problem.
Currently, toddlers below three years old account for about 1.6% of its passengers, the Japan Times reports. If results of this study can be replicated successfully, perhaps more families will be able to fly with their infants and young children in the future.