Preventing and treating motion sickness in children

Motion sickness, we all know it. We experienced it as a child or see it in our own children. Not funny, enough to spoil the trip to the happy days of the holidays. Motion sickness occurs when the brain receives conflicting information from the inner ears, eyes, and nerves to joints and muscles.

Imagine a young child sitting low in the back seat of a car without being able to see out the window, or an older child reading a book in the car. The child’s inner ear will sense the movement, but their eyes and body will not. This can result in stomach upset, cold sweats, fatigue, loss of appetite or vomiting.

It is unclear why motion sickness affects some children more than others. Although the problem does not seem to affect most infants and young children, children between the ages of 2 and 12 are particularly susceptible.

Preventing car sickness in children, some strategies

Reduce sensory input

Encourage your child to look at things outside of the car rather than focusing on books, games, or screens. If your child is napping, it may be helpful to travel while napping.

Plan meals carefully before the trip

Don’t give your child a large meal just before or during the car trip. If the trip is long or your child needs to eat, give them a small bland snack, such as biscuits and a small drink, before leaving.

Provide ventilation

Adequate ventilation can help prevent motion sickness. Open your window wide.

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Provide distractions

If your child is prone to motion sickness, try to distract him during car trips by talking to him, listening to music, or singing songs to him.

A drop of peppermint essential oil

Peppermint essential oil is anti-nausea. From the first complaints of the child or before the trip, give him a drop of this essential oil on the tongue. The symptoms should quickly disappear.

If your child begins to develop significant symptoms of motion sickness, stop the car as soon as possible and let your child get out and walk or lie on their back for a few minutes with their eyes closed. Placing a cool cloth on your child’s forehead can also be helpful.

If these tips don’t help, or if your child’s motion sickness makes travel difficult, consult your child’s doctor about other options.


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