Children under 12 yrs are especially susceptible to motion sickness, which can often upset family travel plans, and even prevent some journeys taking place if the child is particularly bad. Here are 8 Practical and Simple Tips to Ease Motion Sickness in Kids, and ensure your travel plans run smoothly.
What Causes Motion Sickness?
“Motion sickness is usually associated with travelling in a car, ship, plane or train. However, you can also get it on fairground rides and while watching or playing fast-paced films or computer games.
Motion sickness is thought to occur when there’s a conflict between what your eyes see and what your inner ears, which help with balance, sense.
Your brain holds details about where you are and how you’re moving. It constantly updates this with information from your eyes and vestibular system. The vestibular system is a network of nerves, channels and fluids in your inner ear, which gives your brain a sense of motion and balance.
If there’s a mismatch of information between these two systems, your brain can’t update your current status and the resulting confusion will lead to symptoms of motion sickness, such as nausea and vomiting. For example, you can get motion sickness when travelling by car because your eyes tell your brain that you’re travelling at more than 30 miles an hour, but your vestibular system tells your brain that you’re sitting still”
– Excerpt from NHS.co.uk
When I was a child we always went to Saundersfoot for our family summer holidays, and I was guaranteed to be sick on the journey from Brecon (in Wales). I used to hate the journey so much it would put a cloud over the holiday for me. I remember having to sit on newspaper as that was supposed to help. It didn’t!
Since those days I’m fine in a car but please don’t put me on a ferry! I’m pleased to say there are more remedies for motion sickness available these days, and there are also still some “old wives tales” that do seem to work. I’ve listed some below:
Practical Tips to Ease Motion Sickness
#1. Apple Slices
Just have some chopped up apple for your child to nibble on during the journey, and the pectin in the apple should help neutralise the acid in the stomach.
Another natural remedy is Ginger and is historically well known to help with sickness, even dating back to ancient Chinese. It can come in many forms:
- ginger biscuits or ginger snaps to nibble on
- fizzy or flat ginger beer or ginger ale to drink
- ginger candy sweets to suck on
- ginger pills to take (check if ok for kids first)
- raw ginger root to suck on
#3. Puma Method
This is something I heard of via a friend and I intend to try it next time I have to get on a ferry. It’s a method designed by Dr Puma who has 36 years of experience in the aerospace industry. It’s a range of exercises so may not be suitable for toddlers, however worth trying for older kids that suffer from motion sickness.
#4. Wristbands and Bracelets
Acupressure points can be effective for preventing and relieving motion sickness. The easiest points to locate and use are the P6 points (also called the Nei Kuan points), which are located on the inner wrist.
Motion sickness wristbands and bracelets use this acupressure principle – the small stud on the bracelet applies constant pressure to the P6 point on your wrist. Some travel bands aren’t suitable for children, so do check with your pharmacist before you buy – Sea-band is one such brand that is suitable for kids and adults.
#5. Focus on a fixed point
Your brain is telling your body to be sick because of the movement so if you can take the mind off the movement it should start believing you are staying still, so no need to be sick. Focus on a fixed point inside the vehicle and stay focussed on it. This has worked for me on the sea.
DVD players in the backs of headrests in cars should have the same effect, helping your child to focus on something inside the car. But avoid looking having them look down at something, as that can cause motion sickness.
#6. Travel sickness tablets
There are many over the counter tablets that can be bought for motion sickness. Some may not be suitable for children so do check with your pharmacist before you buy. The following brands are okay for children aged 5 or 6 upwards:
- Bimuno Travelaid Pastilles
- ORS Oral Salts
- Boots Motion Sickness Tablets
Although normally used for allergies Antihistamines can also control nausea and vomiting. They are available in all chemists but again it is best to check with the pharmacist which ones are best for motion sickness and for children to use. If the sickness is severe perhaps your doctor can prescribe suitable medication too.
#8. Things to consider
- Reading is well known for causing car sickness so avoid books, and any other activity that requires looking down.
- Try to ensure no heavy foods are eaten before or during the trip – watch what is eaten if you stop at a services.
- Avoid travelling backwards, always face direction of travel.
- Make sure there is plenty of fresh air, and point vents towards child.
- Carry sick bags, and a change of clothes, for you and the children, just in case.
I hope some of the above are useful to you and your child who suffers from motion sickness. Thankfully it’s something that most kids grow out of, but it can put quite a dampener on journeys until then.
Over to you! Please let us know in the comments below if any of the above have helped or if you have any more remedies to add to the list.