Getting Through Baby Car Sickness
Getting Through Baby Car Sickness
Summer and holiday travel isn’t as fun when you’re dealing with a queasy, fussy child. The most common form of motion sickness in children is car sickness, and kids between the ages of 2 and 12 seem to be affected the most. But how do you know if baby car sickness is what your child is experiencing… and how can you help him if it is?
Causes of Baby Car Sickness
No one is positive why some children are affected by motion sickness while others are not. Motion sickness happens when the brain receives conflicting signals from the eyes, inner ears, and nerves. Normally, these three areas work together to respond to movement, but when one senses motion and the others do not, it confuses the brain. This can happen to babies in the car, on a train, boat, or plane when they can feel that they are moving but cannot see out the window. Baby motion sickness can intensify if your little one is excited or stressed, and extreme movement (like a rough road or turbulent winds) can make the feeling worse.
Does my baby have car sickness?
If your baby is younger than 2 years old, you may be wondering if its possible for him to have baby car sickness. That can be tricky because an infant can’t tell you he feels queasy. Though baby car sickness is not as common for infants as it is for older children, there are some symptoms that point to motion sickness. A baby affected by motion sickness may break out into a cold sweat, grow pale or restless, cry and fuss, have a loss of appetite, and even begin vomiting. If this happens, take the next opportunity to safely stop the motion.
How to help a child with car sickness
As a parent or caregiver, there are some things you can do to help your child get through traveling without feeling so miserable. Baby car sickness is not fun! You may want to try:
- Making short, frequent stops – Lie baby on the ground with a cool washcloth on his head or let him get out of the car seat and walk around.
- Distraction – Point out objects outside the car, sing, or talk to your baby.
- Reducing stimulation – Try to make the vehicle as calming as possible by lowering the volume of the radio and removing books, games, and toys.
- Traveling while baby sleeps – Scheduling travel during sleep time may help your little one get through the trip a little easier.
- Air flow – Allow for good air flow devoid of strong smells.
- Offering hard candy – Ginger candies are reported to help, but don’t offer these to babies who are young enough to choke.
- Planning meals ahead of time – Finding a good balance between hungry and full can help with the queasiness during travel. Try not to feed your child right before or during travel if you can help it. If not, light, bland snacks and drinks are ideal. Avoid spicy, greasy foods (like fast food).
- Medication – If your child consistently gets baby car sickness, consult with his doctor or pediatrician about using medication. Children 2 years and older can have Dramamine, while kids 6 and older can try Benadryl. Both of these are given about an hour before travel, but both make kids drowsy. Discuss these and any other options with a physician before using.
Summer and holiday travel is meant to be an adventure and reducing motion sickness for your baby can help make the trip more enjoyable for both of you. What works for your little one when he is experiencing baby car sickness? Share with us in the comments below!
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