When going on vacation, which many would do this coming holiday break, it is unavoidable to travel either by land, air or sea. And, if your child is susceptible to motion sickness, or experiences dizziness and vomiting during a car, plane or boat ride, it could pose a problem.
According to Mayo Clinic, "motion sickness occurs when the brain receives conflicting information from the inner ears, eyes and nerves in the extremeties." Think of your child occupied with a small toy or book in the car. Her eyes are telling the brain that the body is not in motion but her other senses can feel that she is. These conflicting signals cause the nausea.
Adults can experience motion sickness too, but it's most common in children ages 2 to 12. It doesn't seem to affect babies and toddlers. Cast worries of motion sickness aside during your family vacation and try these tips to prevent your child from getting it:
1. Be alert. Stop motion sickness before it gets worse and your child starts to vomit. Look for early signs and symptoms like a cold sweat, fatigue or loss of appetite. If you’re in a car, stop for a while and have your child lie down until the dizziness goes away. A cool cloth placed on his forehead will help. 2. Look outside. Have your child focus his gaze outside at the horizon while travelling. This will help tell the brain that the body is in motion and moving towards that spot. If your child isn’t big enough to look out the window yet, have him sit on a booster seat.
3. Offer other distractions. To reduce motion sickness, the goal is to reduce conflicting sensory input, so instead of gadgets and books, distract him with word games, storytelling, listening to music or singing songs.
4. Have him nap. Your child is less likely to get motion sick if he’s asleep for the trip. Encourage your child to sleep. Bring his pillow or favorite blanket along! If you’re travelling with little kids, try scheduling the trip during naptime.
5. Provide cool air. The soft blow of the air conditioner or a fan can prevent and relieve motion sickness. This should be easy to do on planes and cars. You can try rolling the car windows down too. If on a boat, head to the deck and look to the horizon. Avoid strong odors as this can worsen motion sickness. 6. Choose your seats wisely. When on a plane, choose seats near the front of the aircraft or beside a wing. There should be less motion in these spots. In large vehicles like vans or buses, avoid the seats at the back and choose those in the middle. For safety reasons, do not let small children sit in front or at the passenger seat.
7. Plan out meals beforehand. Don’t give your child greasy foods or a large meal immediately before or during travel, advises Mayo Clinic. If your child gets hungry during a long trip, give her a bland snack like crackers and a small drink.
8. Ask a doctor about over-the-counter medication. If your vacation entails long hours of travel, consult a pedia about anti-nausea medication your child can take. There are some that are available in easy chewable tablets and also in liquid form.
Talk to a medical professional for any concerns about your child’s health. Happy travels!