How to Deal with a Sick Child on a Flight

Obviously if you’re on a flight this isn’t going to be much help unless it’s one with Wifi on board (these things do exist. Something like $15 for 3 hours. Considering what we pay each month this felt quite reasonable) But anyway, the last thing you’ll do while on a flight is to go to the internet to find out how to deal with a sick child on a flight. So…

How to deal with a sick child on a flight. You don’t run to the toilets, barging past the queues, a la “make way, make way, lady with a baby” scene in Grease. Mainly because a lot of people in the queue might not speak English so just think you’re a bit rude.

Besides, once said child is in one of those tiny toilet compartments, there’s barely room for you as well. It just does not work.

However, said tiny toilet compartments do have a plentiful supply of sick bags in them. You just need know where to look. I did as I’m nosey. I always open all available drawers to find out what’s in there for my first visit on the flight. So do that, then you’ll know.

So I grabbed a load of bags and ushered H back to her seat. She felt a bit odd sitting waiting to be sick, but then it’s a far more pleasant experience than sitting over a toilet on a plane. Trust me on this.

With the sick bag positioned right under her chin to catch drips, we were left waiting. And waiting. And a bit longer than that.


“uuurrgh I’m going to be sick” she said as she then promptly almost filled an entire bag. It’s important to know that each bag has a tear-off strip on it which needs doing before it can be used. Everything was well contained, none of the projectile variety.

It’s at this point it’s handy if there are two of you travelling with your child who is vomiting into the aforementioned bag. That way, the other parent can help with the switch. Unless he’s asleep, that is.

I found that hitting him in an urgent manner on the arm and saying “WAKE UP SHE IS BEING SICK” works well. Shaun jumped into responsible parent mode and got the next bag ready, which again H filled.

At this point an airline steward came along and realised what was up. I asked how to deal with a sick child on a flight, and what he would recommend (while holding two sealed sickbags, my seatbelt fortunately not fastened as that could have been awkward). He offered to make H a ginger tea – which is exactly the right thing. She needed fluids and ginger is a good thing. So he went off and did that while I headed back to the toilets clutching two paper bags full of sick.

“MAKE WAY I HAVE SICK” I said pretty clearly while holding the two bags in front of me the same way I would have with a dirty nappy. This worked. They live in the toilet bins. So fold them up well at the ends because.. well, urgh if you don’t.

After that H was much better. We think it was probably a mixture of not sleeping and the bumpy ride across to Australia. Let’s face it, you have your own tv which has Harry Potter, The Trolls, Moana, Sing and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – you’re not going to want to sleep. Oh, and the fact Singapore Airlines feed you a LOT of food.

Once we landed she had colour back in her cheeks, although was ready to sleep and pretty much did. The following day she was fine again.

So let that be a vague lesson in how to deal with a sick child on a flight. It involves queue barging, paper bags, sealing the bags securely, talking to the airline staff and helping your child not be too distressed. It also helps a lot to have some wipes in your hand luggage. Never assume the days of wet wipes are gone once your child reaches a certain age.

Singapore Airlines also had some mouthwash in each toilet which you dispense into a cup for a good swish. I recommend it after you’ve finished the ginger tea, mind. It’s a bit of a taste clash otherwise.

view from the plane, How to Deal with a Sick Child on a Flight