We love a road trip! Well, we do until a bout of car sickness hitches a ride. While Raffles went through stages of suffering from spectacular bouts of car sickness, three-year old Sugarpuff seemed unaffected by that particular affliction. Until now! And let me tell you, she has embraced it in technicolour style.
Given that my dizzy daughter spends so much of her time in giddy gyratory motion, I foolishly thought that she was immune to motion sickness, but no, this summer my pre-school Pukerella has started mistaking our sedan for a porcelain bus.
You might think that this would prove an inconvenience for frequent road trippers like us but having been through it before with a ralphing Raffles…we know just what to do to ease the quease!
Here are out top 7 tips to barf-free bliss on the road…
1. Know what it is – Car sickness occurs when the brain receives conflicting signals from the motion-sensing parts of the body: the inner ears and the eyes. While the inner ears detect that the car is moving, the eyes, when focused on something inside the car, don’t. The conflicting signals are sent to the brain and nausea, headache, and vomiting can be the miserable result. In a car, smaller children sitting low in the backseat of a car often can’t see outside, which increases the problem.
2. Prepare and prevent – We prefer to take preventative methods and have discovered a number of simple tricks for avoiding car sickness. Firstly be sure that your child’s head is well-supported in the car seat to prevent the wobbles. It’s also important to make sure they have eaten well before travelling, as an empty tummy can increase the effects of motion sickness – just try to avoid hard-to-digest food if you don’t want to see it again. Also consider planning for long car journeys to be made during your child’s sleep time as car sickness isn’t as likely to occur during slumber.
3. Know the signs – If your child is generally miserable in the car – beyond the whiny but expected “are we there yets” – motion sickness may be the cause. It’s a little late to do anything but clean up once the car has been redecorated with the contents of your child’s stomach, so it’s important to keep an eye out for some of the early signs some children exhibit. These can include a sudden break in chattering, pallor, and tiredness. Unfortunately for us, Sugrapuff’s motion sickness tends to arrive with ninja-like stealth and she displays none of these before turning the car into a mobile vomitorium.
4. On the road – Plan for frequent stops to blow off pent up energy and reset the kids equilibrium. Overheating can increase the chance of car-sickness so keep the car cool and well ventilated. If your child is feeling a little nauseous open a window as a little fresh air can help, and stop as soon as possible so they can sit or walk it off. Placing a cool damp flannel on your child’s forehead can also help. Once they get back in the car take measures to avoid it re-occurring or worsening. If you can, get your child to close their eyes as this helps stop sending the confused signals to the brain.
5. Tread gingerly – Ginger can be quite helpful for easing nausea so pack a few ginger biscuits for the trip. Peppermint can also assist in easing nausea so if your kids are old enough you can also pack some chewy mints. On an extra-long trip warm ginger or peppermint tea in a thermos can also help hinder the hurl.
6. Diversions – If your child is prone to car sickness attempt to keep them preoccupied with talking, listening to music or singing songs. Try to keep your child’s attention towards the front of the car by pointing out interesting things along the horizon. Books, games and toys in the car should be avoided by children prone to motion sickness as looking down at an inanimate object will only assist in activating a hurling session.
7. The Puke Pack – Carry an easy to reach” puke pack” for long journeys. It should include clean water, wipes, an airtight plastic container, an old towel, flannel, change of clothes and a plastic bag for storing smelly and soggy post-puke items. And be sure to carry an up-to-date family first aid kit that includes re-hydration salts that are safe for kids. And don’t forget the air freshener!