If any of your children are not used to traveling long distances by car, they may have a bout of motion sickness. This is not just relegated to driving, but can affect children and adults who travel by air, train, and ship as well.
While it is a good idea to bring a “barf bag” just in case, this condition can be avoided using the following preventative measures:
- Ensure the family has a good breakfast before leaving.
- Bring along a mini-six-pack of ginger ale. A few sips will help settle the stomach.
- Make a stop and have the affected child sit in the front seat.
- Open the window of the car to allow the fresh air in.
- If necessary, stop at a rest stop and have the children walk around a while.
We are most familiar with motion sickness on ships. The constant “motion” of the ship allows for nausea that eventually may lead to vomiting.
The medical description of motion sickness is that the inner ear is affected because the motion is sending different messages to the brain. Even though the vehicle is moving, the body is not, and so the conflict begins.
If the motion sickness becomes severe and the person begins to vomit, stop and give the person affected plenty of water to drink afterward to avoid dehydration. The individual needs to get their balance and bearings. This is why a little walk will help alleviate future symptoms.
Another good idea is to tell the individual to keep their head up and focus on an object outside the car, such as the sky. Engaging in games or other activities can only worsen the situation.
Motion sickness can feel awful, especially for a child. With a calm voice and a gentle hand, assure the child that he or she will be fine. Use all measures mentioned, and give the child enough time to weather this storm. Eventually, they will recover.
Here’s another tip: If a child or adult feels sick in the car, turn off the radio and AC and just let them breathe in the fresh air. Getting sick can make them more anxious and they may feel bad about getting sick as well. Reassurance and comforting words is all they need.