Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    Includes Expert Content
    Alcohol to Make a Baby Sleep ????
    kingcharles0921 posted:
    My friend has a baby that she wants to sleep on a long airplane flight (15 months). She is from Eastern Europe, and her family recommends rubbing a bit of alcohol (like vodka) on the baby's gums to make it sleep. I want to tell her this is a really bad idea, but I have no facts to back me up. HELP!!
    tothebeach4 responded:
    It should be plain common sense that giving a baby alcohol in any manner is not good parenting. Not to mention, it's ILLEGAL... child endangerment, neglect... anything ringing a bell?! Her actions could get her child take from her, so lets use our brains and try to be a better parent.
    phoenix31674 responded:
    It's a definite no-no. There are many reasons alcohol is illegal for kids, one of which is that their liver cannot process this poison out of their bodies as quickly as an adult. This can lead to liver and/or brain damage if too much is ingested. Yes, whisky on the gums used to be a teething relief, but we have learned much more about how alcohol affects the body.

    I'm going on a long flight this summer with a 9 month old and I know I won't be getting any sleep on the flight. The best way for her to get sleep would be to buy a seat for the baby and let the baby sleep in the car seat. I would rather buy a seat for our baby, but unless prices come down, it's not going to happen at $1300 a pop.
    Boyzmomee responded:
    Indiaguerita responded:
    Did you (or your friend) know that an amount as small as a teaspoon can be all it takes to get a child drunk?

    Giving a child alcohol (in any form) is abusive.

    Roy Benaroch, MD replied to Indiaguerita's response:
    Oooooo, this is a bad idea. Who knows how much actual booze the baby will get? Besides drunkenness, in babies ethanol can cause hypoglycemia, seizures, and respiratory failure-- that's when they stop breathing. Bad news on an airplane.

    I get asked now & then for knockout potions for babies on these trips. There is no safe, sure way to put a baby to sleep short of general anesthesia, and even that can go wrong. We all want the easy, magic solution, but some things just can't be made as easy as we'd like.
    Indiaguerita replied to Roy Benaroch, MD's response:
    When we took our 18 month old on a trip to CA, my pediatrician told us to take a red-eye flight, when the baby is asleep...or give our son the appropriate dosage of Benadryl.

    Don't know if they have Benadryl in the country the friend is coming from...but I would use Benadryl rather than liquor.

    phoenix31674 replied to Indiaguerita's response:
    One note on Benadryl, it hypes some kids up. Me, personally, I hate giving my kids drugs when they are sick, let alone when they are healthy. medicines do have side effects. That said, I know several parents who have used it just fine, but you really don't want to be at 30k feet when you realize it hypes your kid up.
    DnEmom replied to phoenix31674's response:
    OH no no no NO!!!! I know the trip to Europe can be very long and very stressful when lil ones are coming along, I know that 1st hand!

    All she needs it to PLAN, PLAN and try her best to keep her self together, she can walk go to the back of the plan and just be prepared for anything spits, major diaper disasters but dont do anything to your lil that will harm him or her!...

    A lilttle 4yr old princess die in our community last month because her step dad gave her 1 shot of vodka !!!! Terrible....
    bobofix responded:
    So, in other words, no. No one has any facts to back you up. Just uninformed opinions.

    I agree, it's probably not such a good idea, but no one has studied (or will ever study) whether rubbing what amounts to about a drop or so of alcohol on a baby's gums has any bearing on the baby's health in the short or long run. I could be wrong, but I'm fairly confident the people who say it's common sense have likely not bothered to calculate how much a baby's liver can process, or even the grams of alcohol in a drop of vodka. This is more of the "common opinion" rather than common sense. Similarly, drinking during pregnancy is not necessarily bad (well, we don't really know, but to play it safe, we say it is), but drinking "too much" certainly is (we know because we have data!). Problem is that no one will dare define "too much"... Is it 1 drink/day? 1/2 drink per day? If anyone in a position of "authority" did and got it wrong, it'd be a feeding frenzy for lawyers (at least in the US).

    Back to your question... The risks are unknown, and your friend should know that there COULD be risks to the baby's development. Ignoring the legality for a moment, your friend should ask herself "is it worth the risk?"

    Helpful Tips

    Not as easy as some make it out by simply being the boss.
    Feeding therapy ideas and resources ... The phrase " oral aversion " describes the avoidance or fear of eating, drinking, or accepting ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    1 of 1 found this helpful

    Expert Blog

    Child Health 411 - Ari Brown, MD

    Educated parents are empowered parents! Get clear answers to your parenting questions from Dr. Ari Brown...Read More

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.