Key to No Barfing on Family Road Trips

Nauseated

The other day my friend and I were discussing how we dreaded traveling with kids and it wasn’t for the reasons most parents have:

“She crossed over the line and her finger is on my side!!”

“Bobby took my headphones!”

“Mom, Sarah won’t stop staring at me!”

Oh, no, we both had the dreaded Car Barfer.

After discussing this malady by the snack table at church, regarding traveling with kids on Spring Break, I realized that after I fought this “uphill” battle for 7 years, I could be considered an expert.

And because of that, I felt it was my public duty to share my tricks and secrets.

When my daughter, Munchkin #1 was a baby, she immediately became what they call in some glamorous social circles, a projectile puker. The girl could hurl it to the third seat area of the van if she produced a good arc.

The hubby and I prayed that she would grow out of this attractive behavior, for she wouldn’t win any popularity contests if this continued.

In fact, we couldn’t go anywhere in the van over 15 minutes without the upchuck routine. This was awful since the grandparents lived 30 minutes away and people frown on covering infants in Saran Wrap or attaching feedbags.

So after many urping episodes, and tempts of fate thinking she could make it 16 minutes, 17 minutes, we tried everything we could think of to make our darling child, feel better, keep unsoiled and not smell like the ladies room on 50 cent beer draw night.

Here are my tips for keeping you and your child happy and considering getting back on the road again:

Medications:

Younger children cannot take any medication to settle their stomachs, so you have to just suffer through. When your pediatrician says that Benadryl is OK for your child, that can be a blessing for some; but you need to be careful and know the exact dose and realize it will knock most kids out into a prolonged stupor. Of course there are some kiddos that have the opposite problem and turn into complete spazzes, but at least they aren’t throwing up. REMEMBER: Don’t give Benadryl without your pediatricians approval.

Dramamine is for kids over 2 years of age, according to the packaging. There are chewables, but they are hard to find. And if you try to get your kid to swallow Dramamine in pill form, and they have not developed that skill yet, they taste awful just sitting on the tongue, so it will be near impossible getting another one in your kids mouth ever again.

However, Dramamine is a blessing from God!! I remember thinking that my daughter would never turn two so that we could use the magic potion of the road. NOTE: Never give Benadryl and Dramamine together. Dramamine contains Benadryl, so you can overdose.

Not all pediatricians will prescribe this for older children, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, but Odansetron (aka Zofran) is an anti-emetic (anti-nausea/anti-vomiting) drug that is often used for pregnant women who can’t keep food down or patients after chemotherapy treatment. Children over the age of 4 can take this, and if your child does not respond to the other choices, Odansetron works beautifully. This drug needs a prescription, so your physician will let you know if this is appropriate for your child.

Clean-up Supplies:

1. In addition to medication, you need to have your vehicle stocked sufficiently. A little package of tissues you carry in your purse is not going to cut it with one of these kids. You need a jumbo box of baby wipes and periodically check to make sure they remain damp. Nothing worse than reaching in for a cleanup job and find dry wipes! Not only do the wipes work well to essentially bathe your child in the car, but also they can clean upholstery, carpeting and the seat belts quite effectively. These are a MUST! My kids are 7 and 8 and I still keep a box in the car just for spills and accidents.

2. At first I asked every person who traveled to bring me back vomit bags from the airlines. I had about 20 of those in the back pocket of the driver’s seat. But you will quickly learn that those are 1) not airtight 2) not leakproof and 3) have a small opening, which proves to be a poor target for a young or inexperienced barfer. Ziploc Freezer Bags with the strong zipper seal are the answer. Aim, shoot, and zip! Toss and you are back on the road. I actually kept an entire jumbo box of those in the car with the wipes.

3. The last thing you want are kitchen trash bags. Many times I stood on the side of the highway with my toddler stripped down to her diaper and I was tempted to just dump her clothes right there. If you have a big bag for clothes or the liner of the car seat, you can close those up tight and toss them in the trunk.

I apologize for those with a weak stomach. I know this isn’t a glamorous post, but hopefully this information can save at least one family some headaches.

The good thing is usually by the time your car sick child is a teenager, she can sit in the front and look out the front window, reducing or possibly alleviating the nausea.

Thanks so much for joining Nurse Mommy Laughs today! If you know of someone that has a child this post could help, please feel free to forward this link. How do you get through traveling with carsick kids? Any other tips you would like to share in the comments below?

Happy Spring Break to all the Car Barfers

The other day my friend and I were discussing how we dreaded traveling with kids and it wasn’t for the reasons most parents have:

“She crossed over the line and her finger is on my side!!”

“Bobby took my headphones!”

“Mom, Sarah won’t stop staring at me!”

Oh, no, we both had the dreaded Car Barfer.

After discussing this malady by the snack table at church, regarding traveling with kids on Spring Break, and then even mentioning it on Kansas City Live! – KSHB-TV, I realized that after I fought this “uphill” battle for 7 years, I could be considered an expert.

And because of that, I felt it was my public duty to share my tricks and secrets.

When my daughter, Munchkin #1 was a baby, she immediately became what they call in some glamorous social circles, a projectile puker. The girl could hurl it to the third seat area of the van if she produced a good arc.

The hubby and I prayed that she would grow out of this attractive behavior, for she wouldn’t win any popularity contests if this continued.

In fact, we couldn’t go anywhere in the van over 15 minutes without the upchuck routine. This was awful since the grandparents lived 30 minutes away and people frown on covering infants in Saran Wrap or attaching feedbags.

So after many urping episodes, and tempts of fate thinking she could make it 16 minutes, 17 minutes, we tried everything we could think of to make our darling child, feel better, keep unsoiled and not smell like the ladies room on 50 cent beer draw night.

Here are my tips for keeping you and your child happy and considering getting back on the road again:

Medications:

Younger children cannot take any medication to settle their stomachs, so you have to just suffer through. When your pediatrician says that Benadryl is OK for your child, that can be a blessing for some; but you need to be careful and know the exact dose and realize it will knock your child out. Plus, don’t give it without their permission.

Dramamine is for kids over 2 years of age, according to the packaging. There are chewables, but they are hard to find. And if you try to get your kid to swallow Dramamine in pill form, and they have not developed that skill yet, they taste awful just sitting on the tongue, so it will be near impossible getting another one in your kids mouth ever again.

However, Dramamine is a blessing from God!! I remember thinking that my daughter would never turn two so that we could use the magic potion of the road.

Clean-up Supplies:

1. In addition to medication, you need to have your vehicle stocked sufficiently. A little package of tissues you carry in your purse is not going to cut it with one of these kids. You need a jumbo box of baby wipes and periodically check to make sure they remain damp. Nothing worse than reaching in for a cleanup job and find dry wipes! Not only do the wipes work well to essentially bathe your child in the car, but also they can clean upholstery, carpeting and the seat belts quite effectively. These are a MUST! My kids are 7 and 8 and I still keep a box in the car just for spills and accidents.

2. At first I asked every person who traveled to bring me back vomit bags from the airlines. I had about 20 of those in the back pocket of the driver’s seat. But you will quickly learn that those are 1) not airtight 2) not leakproof and 3) have a small opening, which proves to be a poor target for the barfer. Ziploc Freezer Bags with the strong zipper seal are the answer. Aim, shoot, and zip! Toss and you are back on the road. I actually kept an entire jumbo box of those in the car with the wipes.

3. The last thing you want are kitchen trash bags. Many times I stood on the side of the highway with my toddler stripped down to her diaper and I was tempted to just dump her clothes right there. If you have a big bag for clothes or the liner of the car seat, you can close those up tight and toss them in the trunk.

I know this is not a glamorous post, but hopefully this information can save at least one family some headaches. The good thing is usually by the time your car sick child is a teenager, she can sit in the front and look out the front window, reducing or possibly alleviating the nausea.

Growing up a carsick child, I understand this firsthand. I didn’t get rid of my carsickness until my twenties, when I spent two months traveling on a double decker bus with a theater tour.

But that wild and bumpy tale is for another time!

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Car Barfer Children are a Challenge

From a very early age, one of my children struggled with car sickness.  If we would drive more than 15 minutes, it was a pretty good bet she would “throw up” in her carseat.  Now my pediatrician had said to buy a carseat with a removable cover for easy washing, but how did she know how many times I would have to clean it?  Psychic pediatricians are helpful!

Now both sets of grandparents, whom we get together with often, are 30 minutes away, so that meant for every holiday, birthday or event where we got to do the driving, we would have to put her in her “barf” clothes and try various tactics to keep child and her seat dry.

Our first experience with car barfing, happened when we were heading to my father’s retirement party.  Our one year-old was dressed in her Sunday best.  Fifteen minutes into the ride…the inevitable occurred on exit 207.  She soaked the dress and her tights, but thankfully missed the shoes.  We arrived in town with one more episode but we had run out of napkins and diaper wipes by episode deux.  Our choices were limited:  Turn around and go home, sponge her down and have her smell like the Women’s bathroom the morning after Ladies Nite, or buy her a new outfit.

We opted for a new outfit.  As we were driving downtown we noticed the lights were still on in a consignment store and since it was the holiday season, all of the cute winter dresses were in the window.  $6.00 dress, $2.00 tights and we were back on the road…priceless! She was a huge hit at the party and everyone kept commenting on how beautiful her dress was. It took everything in me to not roll my eyes every time this occurred.  “Thank you.” “Glad you like it!”

This car sickness scenario happened so many times, I felt it my duty to pass on my secret to success.  To all you parents with children who don’t care to keep their stomach contents in their point of origin, there is hope!

Nurse Mommy’s Tips & Tricks:

Keep “barf kit” in car at all times and replenish immediately.  This includes:  large trash bag for clothes and clean up materials, large container of wet wipes, roll of paper towels, full set of replacement clothing and the most important item is a large ziplock freezer style bag for the actual catching of stomach contents.

For about a year, I asked everyone I knew to pick me up some barf bags from the airlines.  I had the van stocked with those babies, but who knew that they were so impractical?  The person who designed these was someone who really didn’t want to think about it and just created them for the polite and clean barfer.  Not baby or toddler proof!

The large Ziplock can be held up to the babies face (now I’m not saying to put a plastic bag over your baby’s head…let me be clear), and after they are done, zip it closed.  Yellow and green make blue and you’re done!

Another tip is that you don’t want your kid having anything sweet before the car ride.  For some reason fruit and milk were the triggers for us.  You will have to find what makes it worse for your child, but I would start with these.

Finally, talk to your pediatrician about car sickness medications.  Some professionals say Benadryl can help with the younger ones, but Dramamine isn’t advised until they are two.  Those two years can feel like decades; but once you get the clear, they can be chewed up and will just let your child sleep half way across the country without a drop of liquid on their lap!

Most kids will outgrow this condition; but until then, when they are old enough to sit in the front seat, have them stare ahead during the trip and that helps immensely.  Best wishes and tidy barfing to you and yours!

(NURSE MOMMY WARNING:  Do not medicate your child without first discussing it with your medical provider.  Correct dosages for young children are mandatory.  Call your pediatrician’s nurse for help.)

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