Moms Opinion: What Are The Best Ways To Ease Travel Sickness?
Do your little ones suffer from travel sickness? Or do you suffer from it yourself? It’s an issue that affects a lot of people, and can be particularly bad for small children from age 2 – 12. In the simplest terms, travel sickness occurs because the inner ear is sending signals to your brain, which don’t match up with what your eyes are seeing, due to the motion.
Imagine your little one sitting in the back seat (whether forward or rear facing) without being able to see properly out of the window, or an older child looking at a book or screen whilst travelling: The child's inner ear will sense motion, but the eyes won't. The result might be an upset stomach, cold sweat, fatigue, and loss of appetite or vomiting.
Following a recent Mom’s Query on the subject, we’ve put together some top tips from our wonderful community, and the experts:
"Hi Moms. Just wondering is there anything I can do to help a bad car traveller? My 2 year old vomits on most journeys over 30 minutes. It doesn't matter if he goes on an empty stomach or full to the brim, the result is the same. Any advice welcome. Thanks."
Her little one is certainly not the only one:
Donna: My 4 yr old is the same and its cars, buses, planes ... anything that moves! We have tried all different methods of not eating before, phones for distraction, toys ... nothing works! We could be in the car 5 mins and she is sick, or the other day we drove for 90 minutes and she wasn't sick. So unpredictable. If she is gonna be sick then she will. I carry sick bags in my handbag for the bus, and she had a bucket in the car ... we use the wrist bands, and she used to like the anti-sickness lollies, but not anymore. Gonna try the newspaper next.
Trish: Put newspaper on his seat. It's suppose to help. (Old wives tale)
Lisa: My now almost 9 year old is the same, but a few years ago we got her to start wearing the travel wrist bands, and she can travel anywhere now. You should be able to get them in your local pharmacy.
Claire: Yip newspaper under bum and sick bands. You get them in Boots.
Michaela: Is he in rear-facing car seat? It could be one of the reasons. And avoid all smells in a car - it could be air freshener (strictly forbidden in our car as it makes me sick), coffee, perfume ... Or petrol smell when you stop at the petrol station. These are things that make me sick in a car.
Vera: Might sound stupid but move the car seat: If in the middle move to the edge or vice versa.
Gina: I get travel sick too and my parents had an anti-static rubber strip on the car which worked and I now have one on my car for my little girl. They are only about €10 in Halfords.
Pam: I used to be awful as a child, and it can still happen me now sometimes. If you watch the horizon it helps, so I used to sit in the middle of the seat so I could see the road. No reading, looking down made it worse.
Noirin: Travel sickness bands and open window for air ... my son is same since he was born. He is 7 and I swear by the bands ... and no screens i.e Tablets or DVD players; not saying you have them, but they make it worse.
TOP TIP: If your child starts to develop car sickness, stop the car as soon as safe to do so, and let him get out and walk around — or lie on his back for a few minutes with closed eyes. Placing a cool cloth on your child's forehead might also help.
Read Next: How To Prepare For Stress Free Journeys
If in doubt, go and talk to your local pharmacist, who will be able to suggest options best suited to your child’s age.
Gina: Travel pops from the pharmacy. My son gets sick in buses so every school year we buy them … worked for him.
Sandra: My sister got seasickness syrup for her wee one.
Karen: Try a session of craniosacral osteopathy.
Sonya: You've described my childhood … Control the heat: I feel so much worse in the heat. The motion sickness lollipops and motion sickness bands saved me during my last holiday. Lots of car journeys, and I was 4 months pregnant!
Rachael: Great tips mentioned here: My 2 year old is the same, with a bad episode only last week! We usually get the lollipops which have worked, but being a toddler she decided she didn’t want one last week: Definitely think I will be trying the travel bands!
Aoife I used to take phenergon syrup the night before travelling, it worked really well!
TOP TIP: Teach your child to recognize the signs of motion sickness, and to let you know as soon as it starts, so you can offer distractions, sucky sweets, or a break to stretch the legs and get some fresh air, before it becomes an ‘emergency situation’!
Siobhan: Sit on newspaper, and ginger tablets.
Theresa: I used to get awful travel sickness: Sweets to suck on, flat 7up, or [for adults] chewing gum.
Marie: Being sea sick myself here are some of my tricks : Drink plenty of water before and during. Try to not over heat the car (heat is a bit trigger for me.) Try to avoid traffic ( I am fine on big stretch of road as long as it is not stop and go situation.) Let a tiny bit of air go ( fresh air is one of my best medicine.) A ginger lolly does help sometimes. Last of all, plan the travel when it is usually nap time or night time: With a bit of luck he will fall asleep good part of the way. Hope it will work.
Fiona: Ah I feel your pain. Had this with my little girl at this age. I found wrist armbands helpful on short journeys. Phenergon a must on medium/long journeys. Empty tummy worse than full tummy. Milk was her main trigger: I couldn’t give her any milk or cereal with milk or yogurt before traveling. Always 100 per cent guaranteed to cause it. (Took a while for me to realise!) Still happens now (she is six and half) if she has dairy … It’s a dreadful experience, but once you find trigger can be managed. Best of luck.
Anna Polo mints.
Suzanne Get a dvd player for car, it takes their mind off it, that cured my boy as he was deadly for getting sick, Halfords have them!
Editor’s note: This only works for some children, and there may be a ‘sweet spot’ for how far away to place the screen!
Deborah I used to be the same on any journey past an hour until I was 9 or 10: I did grow out of it but wouldn’t be a great passenger even now can be quite nauseated when I’m not driving. But definitely second the no smells. I can remember my mother’s perfume would set me off. Can’t smell Anais Anais to this day!! Plenty of fresh air, no reading or watching anything. I used to find if I was distracted it really helped, listening to stories on tape or playing games in the car etc.
Pam Sucky sweets also helped. Ginger biscuits if your tummy starts to get queasy.
TOP TIP: Deep and steady breathing can bring relief to motion sickness. Singing is a great way to get your child to breathe deeply, and provides distraction; so try singing a song together. At the very least it will help take his mind off the nausea.
Read Next: 11 Ways To Keep Kids Entertained In The Car
What are your go-to strategies for dealing with travel sickness (whether it's you or your little one)? We'd love to hear.