Airport Medical Services Limited
35 Massetts Road, Horley (Nr Gatwick), Surrey RH6 7DQ United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1293 775336 Fax: +44 (0)1293 775344 email: reception@amsgatwick.com

Authorised examiners for: JAA/EASA, UK CAA, US FAA, Transport Canada, CASA Australia,
New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, JCAB, South Africa. Also MCA Seafarer and Oil & Gas UK approved


February 2001

FLYING BABIES!

There was a study by Professor David Southall, published in 1998, linking cot deaths with babies flying. This was very controversial as it suggested that some could become profoundly hypoxic when exposed to reduced partial pressure of oxygen and that this could suppress breathing in the first week or so of life. The scare was sufficient for me to insist on a paediatrician's agreement before clearing a baby as fit to fly.

Since then, the recent guidelines from the British Thoracic Society say it is prudent to avoid flying with a healthy, normal term infant (up to the age of three months) unless absolutely necessary, though there are no directly applicable studies of good quality. A premature baby, one who is oxygen dependent, or with neonatal complications would require special pre-flight testing.

That said, there is no documented case of an infant dying as a result of hypoxia during flight. As with many aeromedical problems, the evidence is not sufficient to give a didactic statement.

Dr S A Goodwin

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Airport Medical Services Limited
35 Massetts Road, Horley (Nr Gatwick), Surrey RH6 7DQ United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1293 775336 Fax: +44 (0)1293 775344 email: reception@amsgatwick.com
Vat Reg - 906 8991 78

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