For many parents planning longer car trips just simply isn’t possible because of car sickness.
If your child (or children) experience regular car sickness you well and truly have our sympathy.
It can be a very real everyday stress and concern for parents.
Simple tasks like doing the food shop, visiting family or commuting
to school/crèche/childminders can be completely overshadowed by the fear of your child being sick
On a basic level it makes daily life extremely stressful and for many parents planning longer car trips just simply isn’t possible. The good news is that a lot of children grow out of this or at the very least improve with age.
Those who suffer from car sickness experience a type of motion sickness that can affect the ears, eyes and various muscles in the body. For many children, the problem is their position or activity in the car and in many cases, these things cannot be avoided. For example – a young child may not be tall enough to actually see out of the window but the motion is telling them that the car is moving. This is where motion sickness is born because their senses are telling them different things. What they are hearing and feeling is different to what they are seeing for example.
For some children, the sickness may never get any worse than simply feeling nauseous whereas for others it can lead to vomiting and headaches that continue even after the car ride and motion has come to a halt. Regardless of the outcome, the sickness is very difficult to deal with as a parent as it distracts your driving and can send you into a panic. For many parents, it is a miracle to get from A to B without the child physically being sick.
Car sickness tends to affect children from toddlerhood and can last right up until they are in their early teens. For this reason, it is very important to have some kind of action plan in place so that your child’s car sickness does not completely overshadow every experience that requires being transported in a vehicle.
Here are some of the things you can do to help improve (or at least prepare for) the situation.
1. Certain activities can trigger your child’s car sickness. For example, have you noticed that it is worse when they are looking at a phone/tablet or reading a book? If you notice a link between an activity and the sickness worsening try to limit that activity as much as possible.
2. Ventilation can make a huge difference. If the weather allows for it try to have the windows of the car down a little bit to increase the amount of fresh air flowing through the car as it can really help the feeling of nausea.
3. Encourage your child to take a drink of water with them in the car (unless drinking makes it worse). Sipping it may just provide enough of a distraction to keep the sickness at bay for shorter journeys.
4. For younger children try to plan longer trips in conjunction with their nap times. Many children will only experience car sickness when they are awake due to the fact that it is sensory in nature.
5. Always have a spare pair of clothes and some wipes in the car as a backup. Puppy training pads or toilet training sheets can be helpful in terms of protecting the seats of your car in cases where the child actually vomits due to the sickness.
6. Avoid greasy heavy meals before longer trips. They can make it more likely for tummy upset.
7. If the problem is extreme speak to your GP about any possible medications that may help your child.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.