Travelling with kids can be fun and rewarding, but when one of your children suffers from travel sickness, it can become more difficult. Also known as motion sickness, travel sickness is nausea or vomiting that is caused by repeated motion, such as going over a bumpy road or waves hitting a boat. It can be caused by any kind of travel, including cars, boats, planes, and trains. Despite being inconvenient, there are a few things that you can do to combat motion sickness in children.
One thing that you can do is allow the child to sit in the front of the car. This tends to reduce nausea, as there is less bumpy motion when sat in the front. On a boat, you should sit towards the middle of the boat to reduce motion. You should also instruct your child to look at a fixed point on the horizon, as watching moving objects like cars going past can actually cause more nausea. Open the window next to your child if possible, as fresh air is helpful in combatting nausea.
Distracting your child is often a good thing to do, although some distractions that might occur to you, such as reading or watching films, can actually make nausea worse rather than better. Listening to music is often a fun distraction, and talking, playing car games, and singing can effectively distract a child from feeling sick. You should also think about taking breaks during the journey, where the whole family can get some fresh air, drink some water, and have some time outside the car.
In addition to distraction, you might want to think about food and drink, and how that relates to nausea. For example, you might want to avoid eating large meals right before traveling, as this can make children feel sicker. Eat a light meal before travel, and save your biggest meal of the day for when you arrive. Keep some dry crackers in the car, as these can settle the stomach when your child feels ill, or some sugar-free lozenges to suck on. Some people have also found ginger useful in combatting nausea. Ginger can be taken in different ways, and you may want to have ginger sweets for children to suck or ginger biscuits to nibble on. Some children might like sipping on ginger ale while driving.
If none of these remedies work, you should ask your local pharmacist about the medical treatments they can offer. There are two kinds of medication that you can take for motion sickness, the most common being antihistamine medication. This can be bought over the counter in pharmacies and supermarkets, and you may be familiar with brand names such as Cyclizine and Dramamine. There are dissolvable versions of these medications, which are often easier for children to take. You should ask your pharmacist before giving your child any of these medications, as they may not be fully suitable for younger children. Your GP or pharmacist may be able to recommend other medications for younger children, such as Benadryl.
If you have older children, you may also be able to use anti-nausea patches. Some of these patches need to be prescribed, so this is something you can ask your GP about. They usually take the form of adhesive patches which you apply behind your ear before beginning your journey, and in people with severe motion sickness, are often more effective than oral medication. The NHS recommends that these are only used by children over ten. Finally, you may want to consider buying your child acupressure bands. These are bands that your child wears around their wrist, and there’s some anecdotal evidence that they reduce nausea by putting pressure on certain points.
Therefore, even though travel sickness can be very inconvenient and put you off traveling as a family, there are lots of tips and tricks that you can take advantage of to reduce nausea. If in doubt, speak to your pharmacist or GP and ask their advice.