Dealing with car sickness kids

Dealing with travel sickness in kids

Travel sickness in kids can put parents on tenterhooks even for short road trips. It can turn what was supposed to be an exciting adventure into a nightmare.

Around one in three people are susceptible to motion sickness but it is much more common among children, for reasons not fully understood.

Travel sickness is a complex syndrome believed to be caused by conflicting signals in body senses and often stops when you switch activities or cease the motion. When your kid experiences motion sickness, they usually feel dizzy, develop a fever, or feel nauseous. The illness can really dampen the mood of your trip for everyone.

Fortunately, you can manage travel sickness in kids with the following tips.

Ensure your kid sits in the right position

Choosing the correct sitting location in the car can significantly reduce motion sickness. Therefore, you should place your child’s car seat at the backseat of your vehicle, preferably in the middle.

The middle gives an uninterrupted view of the horizon through the front window.

Focusing on a single view will prevent sickness by controlling their senses. You should also advise your kids to rest their heads against the seat. It will control the movements of their heads, which can otherwise cause disorientation.


Avoid screens and make sure they do not read in the car

Kids love playing video games on the road or watching movies in the backseat. However, if they are prone to travel sickness, video games and movies are a big no-no. The stimulations used in movies cause conflicts in their senses, worsening the symptoms.

Reading also confuses the sensory elements because the ears can detect motion, but the eyes are fixed to the book. You should find low-tech games for your kids to enjoy on the road.

Better yet, they can listen to music or audiobooks.


Find the appropriate time to travel

Children are far less likely to suffer from motion sickness when they fall asleep. So it makes sense to try and plan your trip around your child’s naptime.

If your kid is sleeping, their visual signals are non-existent, meaning there are minimal chances of conflicts in senses.

Also travelling at night is an excellent way to eliminate carsickness.


Kids should not travel on an empty stomach

Many parents think that travelling on an empty stomach prevents motion sickness. The reality is it worsens the symptoms of nausea. While they should not overeat, they should have some food in their stomachs before departure. Give your child easy to digest meals or bland snacks that are rich in protein.

You should avoid greasy and spicy fast food before a long ride as they tend to cause a stomach upset.

To prevent nausea, stick to ginger and peppermint snacks. A few sips of water can also reduce the likelihood of your trip being messy due to carsickness.


Watch out for symptoms

It is critical to prevent the symptoms of motion sickness as soon as it starts since they tend to escalate quickly. The illness may not stop until you cease moving entirely. Therefore, if your child starts experiencing symptoms like dizziness or nausea, encourage them to do some breathing exercises to normalise their stomachs. If they are developing a fever, have them remove some clothes.

If they can also close their eyes for a couple of minutes, the feeling of dizziness will stop. However, if the symptoms intensify, pull over and let them rest for a few minutes. It would help if you kept the car window open for fresh air circulation. Excellent ventilation reduces the symptoms significantly.


Try medication

When preventive measures seem ineffective, you can seek advice from your paediatrician. They will likely recommend medication that prevents nausea on the road. While Dramamine is safe for kids, it has side effects. Your kid may not be able to enjoy their trip since they will arrive at the destination feeling drowsy. Medicine can only be given to children over two years old. Therefore, if your child is below two, try other techniques of managing motion sickness.


There are numerous ways to control motion sickness, but the problem is that not all of them are effective for all children.  For example, acupressure or simple distraction might work for some kids, but not for others.  Fortunately, when your kid hits adolescence, they will hopefully have outgrown the sickness.  It’s just a case of handling it as best you can in the mean time!


Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

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