KC Parent magazine – March 2012 issue
Back in the old days when children and automobile safety weren’t uttered in the same breath, carsickness was treated differently, too. Whenever Mom and Pop had a nauseous kid, they cracked the windows and had her hop up to the front seat.
“Martha, keep looking straight ahead at the road… and if it gets worse, we’ll let you jump out in the ditch!”
Today thankfully, research demonstrates benefits of safety seats and restraints, and children are kept in the back seat; but in terms of road nausea, this can worsen matters. Dr. Kristen Stuppy, a pediatrician with Overland Park’s Pediatric Partners, worries that the “recommendations to keep kids rear-facing until 2 years will lead to increased nausea.”
Suggestions to Reduce Carsickness:
- Break long trips into shorter parts.
- Have children eat light snacks before traveling and drink plenty of water. Avoid large, fatty or spicy meals.
- Keep air circulating: open windows or aim air vents toward your child.
- Avoid books and videos because they seem to worsen symptoms.
- NO SMOKING in the car! Even if kids aren’t in the car at the time, smoke dust settles and remains in the car. Having it on the clothing or hair of others in the car might also trigger problems.
Herbal and Holistic Methods:
According to www.WholeFoodsMarket.com, “Ginger is commonly recommended by health professionals for motion sickness and nausea.”
Stuppy also offers some advice: “Acupressure wristbands seem to help many kids (in her practice), though research doesn’t really support wristbands. If it works, great! They fall into the ‘won’t hurt to try’ category for me.”
Several medications may provide help if other methods don’t work for your child; however, do not medicate young ones without discussing it first with your medical provider. Even over-the-counter remedies, such as Dramamine, which is suggested for kids over 2 years, works for some children but not others, according to Stuppy. “It can cause sedation, which might be good on a long trip – but some kids have the opposite reaction and become hyper!” she says. She also warns that more serious effects of dizziness, blurred vision and trouble thinking can occur.
Carsickness Prep Kit:
- Large Ziploc bags – replaces a bucket (zip it closed and dispose!)
- Paper towels
- Trash bags for trash, clothing, etc…
- Diaper wipes and/or antiseptic wipes
- Change of clothes
- Hair ties
- Bottled water
Stacey Hatton is a pediatric RN whose children are third-generation roadside stoppers. She has high hopes of finding the cure and making her millions!