Q: Our family has a long road trip coming up — but our little one gets queasy when we drive more than an hour. Any tips on how to avoid the dreaded car sickness?
A: You are not alone in your fear of a kid getting sick during a road trip. Nausea in the backseat is nothing to take lightly. But I’ve got a number of parent and expert tested motion sickness remedies for family travel that will hopefully help you navigate the roads without having to pull over in a hurry:
- Keep your eyes on the horizon. When nausea starts coming on strong, have your kids stop looking at devices, books, games, or anything they may have lap level. Looking down distorts equilibrium, which can bring on the quesies. Instead, have them pick a non moving spot on the horizon and keep it in sight until the feeling passes.
- Stock up on ginger. My personal favorite nausea fighter is ginger. It’s a stomach soother and a natural nausea reliever. Bring candied ginger for a sweet treat that will settle flipping stomachs (avoid commercial gingerale though, which is mostly just sugar water).
- Band it up. Seaband wristbands are lightweight snug fitting bracelets that have a small plastic disk, about the size of thumbtack head, that applies pressure to the wrist using acupuncture points. My sister, a pediatrician, swears by these for her 9-year-old daughter whose car sickness used to be legendary, but who I rode with over the Rockies this summer without an issue, totally selling me on these. They’re less than $10 and reusable (other brands are available at drugstores as well).
- Suck a lemon. According to Prevention Magazine, tannins in lemons dry out the excessive saliva that often precedes car sickness. So suck a lemon, dry out your mouth, skip the “uh oh” from the back seat.
- Cracker power. Although it would seem like an empty stomach would be the answer to not getting sick, it’s actually better to have kids eat something light to settle stomach acid. Think Saltines though, not greasy french fries.
- Fresh air. Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air. Keep the windows cracked to keep a flow of cool air in the car. Open the windows more when kids start to falter to clear the car of smells that might be bothering them and, as my grandma would say, “get some air on their face.” It works wonders.
- Go to sleep. If all else fails, plan your driving times when you know your sensitive stomached child will be sleeping. That might mean a midnight road trip, but no one gets motion sick when they’re asleep — so middle of the night might suddenly be your best friend (plus you’ll avoid traffic). Just make sure you’re well rested yourself (and a super large coffee might come in handy, too).
Good luck — and keep your eye on the prize — your final destination! Have a great trip!
Have a family travel question?
Email Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org