How to Deal with Kids Who Suffer From Car Travel Sickness

Advice and Tips Type General Health and Wellbeing Free Teaching Resources Subject General Age 3 to 5 Years Old 5 to 7 Years Old 7 to 11 Years Old

Traveling With Children

Travel sickness is a problem for many young children.  Luckily most will grow out of it, but the during years that they do feel car sick can be terrible for the children and hard work for parents.  It can make day trips and going away on holiday a traumatic experience.

As a child, I hated any kind of journey in the car.  Short 5/10 minute journeys were fine, but anything longer and the dreaded travel sickness feeling would start to develop.  The feeling of nausea was terrible, all I wanted was to get to our destination as quick as possible so that I could get out of the car.  There was nothing to take my mind of the sick, nauseous feeling, I couldn't read books, play games or colour, as these things made the symptoms worse.  My mum always had to make sure there were bags in the car (without holes in!) for me to throw up in.  Luckily I have grown out of travel sickness to a degree, but more importantly have found ways to deal with feeling car sick for the occasions when I get that nauseous feeling.

Unfortunately, my daughter (6 years old), also suffers from travel sickness.  I can really empathise with her when I see her face on a long car journey - I know exactly how she feels.  However, we are making progress, I have found ways to make her feel more comfortable during long car journeys.  Our last long car journey was over 2 hours each way and she managed it both ways without throwing up - Success smile

Medication is available in pharmacies that help with travel sickness, but they do have side effects.  From experience I know that they can make you feel dizzy, drowsy and give you a dry mouth - not a nice feeling!  Herbal alternatives are also available.

Teach My Kids Top Tips To Avoid Travel Sickness

These tips are based on my personal experience and things that I have tried with my daughter.  It is not intended to replace any medical advice you may have been given.  If symptoms are of concern or severe, please consult your GP.

1.  Watch what your child eats before getting into the car.  Avoid fruit, fruit juices and dairy products.  I have found biscuits for breakfast to work the best (not of the creamy or chocolaty variety!) 

2. Try to give it at least half an hour between eating a meal and traveling in the car.

3. Don't read, colour etc.  Looking down makes car sickness worse.  Try and look out of the front windscreen, so that you can see where your are going, therefore your body knows that it is moving.

4. Keep the car cool, especially on a hot day.  Fresh air works the best.  When parked up, use sunscreens on the windscreen and windows so that the car not too hot when you get back in.

5. Keep your child distracted by playing their favourite music or playing car games, see songs and games for long car journeys.

6. Try using acupressure wrist bands.  These can be bought from most pharmacies, when placed in the correct position on the child's wrist it can help.

7. If you child starts feel sick, encourage them to take a few deep breaths.  Controlling your breathing can help the feeling of nausea subside.  If your child starts to sweat give them some fresh air by opening the windows.

8. In case all else fails, make sure you keep a change of clothes with you and plenty of bags with no holes in it.

Entertaining Kids Whilst On Holiday

Not all children get travel sick, but still need to be kept entertained.  Once at your destination, you may have times of the day when you need to keep the kids occupied.  What can you give them to do?

It is always worthwhile taking colouring books, reading and puzzle books with you.  A small pencil case with the essentials in (pencil, pen, rubber, sharpener, ruler and some crayons or felts, scissors and a small glue stick) is always handy.  A pack of cards is great for children to play with on their own or as a family.  'Where's Wally' books are also great, especially if you have the travel collection book, which has all the classic Where's Wally books in one!

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