Long road trips can be a challenge when your child suffers from motion sickness. Here are some ways to cope.
Donít let them read. Or color or play video games. These types of activities usually make motion sickness worse. Instead, bring audio books or music for them to listen to.
Let them sit in the front. For older kids, sitting in the front seat may make motion sickness more bearable. Teens with a license will probably feel even better if they get to drive.
Drive at night. If motion sickness is severe, try driving the biggest portion of your route at night when kids can sleep through the nausea.
Watch what they eat. Encourage kids to eat a light meal before you set out; nausea is more likely on an empty stomach. But stay away from greasy fried foods which will only make matters worse.
Give them a fizzy drink. Bring a cooler with chilled carbonated water or ginger ale to settle your childís stomach. Dry crackers may also help but watch the salt; it will make kids thirstier, which may cause them to drink too much and get sick.
Roll the windows down. Fresh air can head off that woozy feeling better than air conditioning. If youíre stuck in traffic roll the windows up; the exhaust fumes will probably make your child feel worse.
Encourage them to look out the window. Focusing on the horizon or the passing scenery provides a distraction that may help. Have your child count telephone poles or try to spell their whole name with letters from billboards.
Stop frequently. Exercise and fresh air will reduce that pent-up feeling which can exacerbate motion sickness. Stash a bag in the car with a ball, Frisbee, jump rope, or whatever you need to encourage exercise at rest stops.
Try acupressure bands. These "sea-sickness" bands put pressure on the inside of the wrists which, for some people, can relieve nausea. They are available at most drugstores.
Take drugs. If these measures donít work, you might try giving your child an over-the-counter motion sickness pill before your trip. However, these may cause hyperactivity and/or drowsiness so it's best to consult your pediatrician first. For best results, you'll need to give the medication to your child an hour or so before you start out.
Take a supply bag. Pack a small bag of supplies in case your child does get sick. Some suggestions: An old towel, a paper bag, some baby wipes, a small container of soap, a change of clothes, a plastic bag to store soiled items in, and hard candy or breath mints.