Kids may be able to stomach the twistiest roller coasters, but they may end up with motion sickness during an extended car trip. Children are particularly prone to nausea and vomiting — hallmarks of this condition — when they fixate on objects outside of the car, such as telephone poles, street signs, or trees. The constant refocusing of their eyes in tandem with the car’s movement can make them feel queasy, says Harold Koller, M.D., clinical professor of ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University, in Philadelphia.
To Curb the Queasies
- Feed your child ahead of time. Offer a sandwich or some crackers before you hit the road. This will keep her stomach calmer than if you feed her while in motion.
- Seat her smartly. If she’s tall enough to see out the front window, have her sit in the center of the backseat. By looking forward rather than out of the side windows, images will appear to change less rapidly.
- Crack open the windows. Fresh air won’t forestall motion sickness, but it’s calming and can prevent the inside of the car from feeling stuffy.
- Travel at night if you can. Motion sickness is associated with vision, so it helps if your child can’t see outside the car.
- Keep her ears occupied. Reading and coloring may lead to nausea. Instead, put on a favorite tape.
- For severe cases of motion sickness, ask your pediatrician about a prescription or an over-the-counter antinausea medication.