How To Handle Carsickness In Children

family car trip

Most families love that relaxed summertime feeling.  Vacation, camp, and trips to the beach are everyone’s favorites. But all those car rides can lead to carsickness in some children.

Unfortunately, many children, typically between the ages of five and twelve, experience nausea, headaches, and fits of vomiting due to motion sickness when travelling by car for extended periods of time.

Motion sickness is caused by the sensory system’s difficulty sensing motion it can’t feel even though the eye detects movement. The children that I see in my occupational therapy practice, are often prone to motion sickness due to the fact that they already have difficulty integrating the sensation of movement.

When motion sickness strikes, a family trip can really become a miserable experience for parents and kids. So what to do when you know your child is prone to carsickness?

Here are six simple things you can do to prepare your child for a more comfortable and enjoyable car ride:

1)  Try chewy foods, such as licorice or gum. These should be distributed at the start of the trip in order to ward off nausea.salty pretzels

2)  Eat salty foods, such as pretzels.

3)  Chew on pieces of crystallized ginger, often available in the dried fruits section of your local grocery or here.

4)  Seat your child up in the front seat or as close to the front as possible.

5)  Apply deep pressure to the head. Place your hand on the top of your child’s head and push downward gently, either holding for seven-second intervals or pulsating (push release, push release).

NOTE: This is not an appropriate intervention for a baby who still has soft spots at the top of the head.

We’ll be discussing BrainGym activities in another post. BrainGym can help with carsickness as well as learning, attention, and stress relief.

Have a safe and enjoyable vacation!


Graphic credit: supakitmod, Grant Cochrane



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