Some young children will experience spells of motion sickness, while other children never suffer from motion sickness. The most susceptible children are from 2 to 12 years old. When traveling in a car, motion sickness occurs when the inner ear senses motion and a conflicting message is sent to the brain. Symptoms of motion sickness include an upset stomach, vomiting, dizziness, or loss of appetite. If your child suffers from motion sickness, consider the following preventive tips:
Reduce Sensory Input
When your child experiences motion sickness, encourage him to look at things outside of the car. Keep books, games, or movies put away until you reach your final destination. Focusing on things outside of the car will help alleviate motion sickness. In addition, encourage your child to take a nap while traveling to ease the conflicting signals in the brain. For young children, try to take the road trip at the child’s designated nap time. Not only will you child arrive at the destination well rested, but hopefully he will avoid the symptoms of motion sickness as well.
Engage your child in talking or singing to keep his mind off the motion sickness symptoms. Refrain from providing your child with anything that requires his eyes to focus on a book or movie inside of the car, since these types of activities are known to enhance the symptoms of motion sickness.
If you are going on a short road trip, avoid feeding your child a large meal or giving your child spicy or greasy foods. Consider having your child skip food until you reach your final destination. If you are planning a long road trip, the consider giving your child a small meal avoiding spicy or greasy foods. Good snack foods to provide your child during the trip include bland snacks such as dry crackers or a lemon-lime soda to drink.
Children over the age of 2 that experience extreme motion sickness symptoms may be able to take an over-the-counter medication that contains dimenhydrinate or diphenhydramine. Before giving your child any medication, make sure to consult your child’s doctor to see if it is safe and to determine the correct dosage. Popular brands include Benadryl for children 6 years or older or Dramamine for children 2 years or older. Make sure that you read the product label for possible side effects. Generally, the most effective antihistamines for motion sickness usually produce drowsiness. It may be a good idea to give your child a test dose to see how your child responds to any medication before you actually take a road trip.
Purchase elasticized, acupressure bracelets known as sea-bands. These small bracelets have a hard plastic ball embedded in them designed to touch a pressure point on your child’s inner wrist. They are inexpensive, safe and effective way to prevent motion sickness.
Preferential Window Seating
Try to place your child next to a window seat. When your child begins to experience motion sickness, open the window to let fresh air into the vehicle. Play a game in which you have your child count the cars or trucks on the highway to encourage him to focus on something outside of the vehicle.
Try to pack a kit of ziplock bags, washcloth, old towel, water, and air freshener to store within your vehicle for emergencies. In addition, consider covering your car seats in case your child vomits to make clean-up easier. Use a cool, wet wash cloth to place on your child’s forehead to prevent nausea. If your child communicates in advance that he is going to be sick, then you can direct your child to vomit in a plastic bag. Place all soiled clothes and items in a plastic bag and spray your car with air freshener to overcome the after effects of the sickness. Always keep plastic bags out of the reach of small children to avoid safety hazards.