Motion sickness occurs when the inner ear, eyes, and other areas of the body that detect motion send mixed signals to the brain.
Your child may begin to feel queasy with the initial nausea being followed by a cold sweat, fatigue and loss of appetite. A younger non verbal child may simply become restless, pale, sweat and tearful. At some point these symptoms be followed by vomiting. By then you have figured it out, they have motion sickness!
The best treatment for motion sickness is prevention! If your child has previously experienced motion sickness the you should plan ahead for travelling.
If your child is over the age of two, place them in their car seat in the middle of the back seat, and have them forward facing. Rather than a big meal, provide a small nutritious snack prior to the trip and avoid dairy products.
Open the car windows and do not let your child play video games, watch movies or read while the car is in motion. Try to distract them by signing or talking. Sleeping may also be helpful, so at times you might plan your trip around naps and bedtime if possible.
Frequent stops for a child who is feeling sick are a necessity. Letting them lay flat for a few minutes while the car is stopped and even applying a cool rag may make them feel better. Try small sips of a carbonated beverage or a few crackers to help the nausea.
Expect the unexpected and be prepared. Bring along zip lock bags and hand wipes in case of an emergency. This will make everyone in the car a little happier.
I'm Dr. Sue with The Kid's Doctor helping parents take charge.
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