7 Tips to Prevent Children’s Car Sickness During Road Trips

Preventing children car sickness in road trips

Road trips with the kids are a chance to make memories your children will never forget. No one wants their memories to include getting sick in the car, so here are some tips to get your road trip off to a great start.

First, some things you should know about carsickness:

Carsickness tends to happen in children more than adults, which is no surprise given that young kids can’t see past the seats in front of them. A child’s inner ears may sense the motion of the car, but their eyes, focused on a book or digital screen in front of them, may not. Their body is sitting still, but their inner ears are telling the brain there’s movement, sending conflicting information to the brain that can cause motion sickness—nausea, vomiting, cold sweats and more.

What’s not easy to explain is why some kids—even in the same family and under the same conditions—may get motion sickness and some may not. The good news is, regardless of whether you know for sure if you’re kids will become car sick, you can take steps to prevent this motion sickness.

Look up and out

If you know for sure which child is more prone to motion sickness, have them sit in the middle seat so he or she can have a clear view out the front windshield if needed. While books, games and movies are terrific ways of keeping kids occupied during long car trips, they can also contribute to carsickness. If your child gets car sick, play games that require looking out of the car instead of giving them activities that require them to look down.

Travel during sleep times

If your road trip is more about getting to a destination than looking at sights along the way, start your trip late at night, very early in the morning or at your kids’ usual nap times so that they are asleep for a good portion of the trip.

Choose bland foods over spicy food

If you need to eat before you hit the road or will be eating along the way, have your kids eat bland, easy-to-digest foods that won’t upset their stomach. Non-spicy crackers, dry cereal and plain snack bars tend to be safer choices. Stay away from heavily sugared snacks and drinks, as they can be harder on the stomach.

Open the windows

Fresh air often can stave off carsickness if someone starts to feel ill. Even just opening a window or sunroof a small bit can get enough air in to settle queasiness. You may also want to take any air fresheners out of the car before your trip. Scents and odors can cause sensitivity that leads to feeling ill as well.

Use Dramamine®

Dramamine® For Kids chewable tablets are made specifically for situations like this—road trips, train and plane rides and more. The tablets come in a great-tasting grape flavor and are formulated in a precise dose to be effective and safe. If you know one of your kids usually has motion sickness, give them a dose ahead of time and as needed during the ride. Dimenhydrinate, the main ingredient in Dramamine, is approved for kids age 2 and older. Check with your doctor to make sure no other medications your child takes will conflict.

Hear how Dramamine® products have helped families get through road trips without getting car sick:

Dramamine® for Kids has been the only thing that has worked for our trips from OH to VA to visit family. I have a 2 and 3 year old who finally had a sickness-free trip this December. Thank you!! We have gone as drastic as no food before the trip. Now we don’t have to worry about that. They can have light snacks.” (@mrslip4d)

10 year old had chocolate milkshake, pizza, and cheese before a car trip. Ended up getting carsick and throwing it all back up - all over himself and the backseat. The worst smell ever.” When we asked what they used to combat his carsickness since, they said: “Dramamine®, essential oils, and a bucket in the car just in case!”(@skrrt_insta)

What to do if your child gets sick in the car

Even when taking preventive steps, your child could still get sick. So, yes, , make sure you have a bucket or durable, easy-to-open bag for throwing up in. Having disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer on your trip is a good idea too.

If your child gets sick during the trip, stop the car as soon as possible at a rest stop, park or other safe area, get out and walk around with your child. If she is feeling too sick to walk right away, have her lie down on her back and relax with eyes shut—make sure that if she’s lying in the car that ample fresh air is coming in.
If you’re near a store or restaurant, see if you can get some ginger ale or another drink that will help settle her stomach. If it’s time for another dose of Dramamine, give her that as well. It’s important to try and take your child’s mind off of being sick, while someone else cleans out the car and tries to get rid of any vomit smell.

Follow all the tips above and, hopefully, you’ll have a fun and carsick-free trip. Happy travels!