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How to Treat and Prevent Car Sickness in Kids

Car sickness is the bane of family road trips.

In my son’s case, sitting in the backseat while I run a couple of errands is enough to cause queasiness. If you’re in the same boat – or car – as me, read on for some helpful tips on how to treat and prevent car sickness in kids.

What causes car sickness?

Young children sit low in the back seat and can’t see out the window. Their inner ears sense motion but their eyes and joints don’t, resulting in car sickness.

How do you prevent car sickness?

  • Eat lightly before a long car trip. An empty tummy can become a queasy tummy. A fat-free meal two to three hours before traveling can make the stomach less vulnerable to nausea. Think fruits, vegetables, bread, pasta, and granola bars. Avoid dairy products and salty and spicy foods.
  • Eat only bland snacks in the car. Instead of just crackers, try Cheerios, bananas with creamy peanut butter, salt free pretzels, bakes apples, and Gingersnap cookies. Skips sodas and sugary drinks in favor of water. Also, keep tummies from getting too empty by eating a little something at least every two hours.
  • Look out the window. The longer the trip, the more distractions I usually bring for my kids: toys, books, hand held games, and an iPad. To prevent motion sickness, a game of iSpy is a better alternative.
  • Keep them cool. You can purchase hand held mist fans at WalMart for a reasonable price. Put the kids in sandals instead of shoes and socks. Use washcloths to make a cold compress; add a baggie with ice for maximum relief.
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How do you treat car sickness?

Fortunately, there are foods and over-the-counter remedies to ensure a sickness-free road trip.

  • Olives. The first sign of motion sickness is usually the mouth filling with saliva, which in turn can increase nausea. Olives produce tannins, which inhibits saliva production; eating a handful right away may help.
  • Lemons. Their nutrients can soothe an upset stomach so keep some thinly sliced lemons on hand.
  • Sailor’s Secret Premium Ginger. Safe for children and adults, these easy to swallow pills contain ginger, which is proven to be an effective treatment for symptoms of motion sickness.
  • Sea-Band Wristband. Available in adult and child sizes, these wristbands alleviate travel sickness by using acupressure.
  • Queasy Pop Kids. This is an all natural, drug free alternative for kids ages 4 and up. Each box has seven flavored lollipops to help relieve nausea.
  • Dramamine Motion Sickness Relief for Kids. These dye free, flavored, chewable tablets work to prevent nausea, dizziness and vomiting for ages 2 and up.

In case of emergency…

It’s good to have disposable bags handy. Plastic grocery bags will work, provided you check for any holes. Or, purchase TravelJohn Eco-Bags at Walgreens. These absorb, deodorize, and solidify liquids instantly into an odorless gel that won’t spill or leak. Bags are sealable after use and here’s the bonus: they work for urine too for little ones that have to go in between rest stops.

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