Car sickness is a type of motion sickness, it’s not clear why it effects some children and not others. Car sickness does not affect young infants, it’s generally children ages between two and twelve years of age before they grow out of it.

Travel sickness can begin with a feeling of unsettling in the stomach, feel hot, look pale, fatigue, dizziness and finally been sick.

Travel sickness is caused by the brain receiving conflicting signals. The eyes send messages to the brain but the delicate balance mechanisms of the inner ear report something different. If you are reading a book in a moving car, your eyes see the motionless book but your balance mechanisms are saying that you are moving.

It’s not always the motion that causes the symptoms. Other causes can be smells, frequent head movements, windy roads or focusing on nearby objects.

Top tips to help prevent car sickness in children.

  • Time your journey, if possible travel during your child’s nap time.
  • Don’t give your child meals that are large or heavy before they travel as this can upset the digestive system. Try and give them something light and water to drink.
  • Have the window slightly open which will help keep the car cool. Make sure your child wears comfortable clothes and is not wearing too many layers.
  • Avoid any strong smells in the car, don’t smoke and try to avoid strong perfume and air-fresheners in the car as they are very overpowering.
  • Having a sun shade on the widow will help to protect from the heat of the sun.
  • Encourage your child to look at things outside the car — rather than focusing on books, games or movies. If your child naps, traveling during nap time also might help.
  • On long trips your child may need to eat, give him or her a small snack — such as dry crackers and a small drink.
  • Listening to music, singing or playing a game like I spy is a good distraction, rather than giving them book to read or watching a DVD.

Be prepared to take along extra clothing, plastic bag, a towel, and baby wipes in case your child does get sick

If your child is not feeling well stop the car as soon as possible and let your child get out and walk around — or lie on his or her back for a few minutes with closed eyes. Placing a damp cloth on your child’s forehead also might help.

Most children do grow out of travel sickness and as your child gets older she can tell you when she begins to feel sick. Be well prepared for each journey and remember that travelling with your toddler gives her a whole wealth of experiences and opportunities.

© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.


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