Car sickness cures

Beth asked, “Do you have any advice on how to deal with and/or prevent car sickness?”

Many children are prone to motion sickness in the car. This often runs in families, and usually starts in the preschool years, about age three or so. There are many good strategies than can help—try these, and see which works best.

Before the ride, have a small, light snack.

During the ride, tell your child not to look down, read, or play any sort of hand-held game. Encourage children to look out the windows instead. Games like counting cars or looking out for punch buggies will keep kids’ eyes where they should be.

Don’t smoke or eat in the car. For the kids, sometimes chewing gum during the car ride helps.

Crack open a window to let in some fresh air.

For older kids: to prevent motion sickness, the best place to sit is up front. But this isn’t safe for most children less than age 12. For younger kids, sitting in a booster seat in the middle of the back is best, so they can look straight ahead out the windshield.

Lookout for early warning signs: yawning, salivating, and sweating all occur with car sickness. Kids will often look pale and restless when symptoms of car sickness begin. When this starts, try to pull over and get out of the car for a break.

There’s some evidence that ginger can help motion sickness. This hasn’t been studied in children, but in adults it is probably as effective as nausea medicine, with fewer side effects. For kids, you might try letting them have a few pieces of crystallized ginger*, or perhaps an all natural ginger ale. Unfortunately, most supermarket ginger ales are not made with real ginger root. I have honestly not had good success with acupressure devices that are touted to help with motion sickness, but they’re certainly safe.

Medications are not very helpful. You could try a small dose of Benadryl. Prescriptions for motion sickness are sedating, and often cause an unpleasantly dry mouth. I really don’t prescribe these products much, but rather suggest the prevention and all-natural approaches listed above.

* I don’t have any financial relationships with any of these companies, and I’ve never ordered from them. I’m providing links just as examples.

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