Car sickness prevention tips

Summer can be the perfect time for a family road trip - no school, nice weather and plenty of places to visit. But what if your child is prone to car sickness, a common type of motion sickness? Does this mean you have to stay home?

“Car sickness occurs when the brain receives mismatching information from the ears, eyes and nerves in the extremities,” says Sara Winters, physician assistant at Mayo Clinic Health System - Franciscan Healthcare in Waukon. “The results of this sensation are upset stomach, fatigue, and of course, vomiting.” In children ages two to 12, this experience is fairly common.

Although the reasons for why children are so prone are still unexplained, Winters offers some suggestions that may help you keep your child from getting car sick on your next trip:

· Cut down on sensory input. Loading up your kids with movies and books during a road trip may not be the best thing for them after all, especially if they are easily car sick. Encourage them to focus on things outside the vehicle instead.
· Offer distractions. Talking, listening to music, and singing songs with your child could serve as a good distraction during a car trip.
· Provide adequate air ventilation. Make sure the car is free of odors and that there is a decent amount of ventilation.
· Be careful with snacks. Greasy and spicy foods are not going to be good for your child before a car trip. If the trip is going to be long, feed your child a small, bland snack before you leave.
· Try medication. If your child is two or older, ask your child’s doctor about the over-the-counter medications that are available for car sickness. Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) is available for children two and older, and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is available for children six and older. Drowsiness is a common side effect of these drugs.

If you follow these suggestions and your child is still experiencing car sickness, ask your child’s doctor about other options so that difficult car trips can become a thing of the past.
 

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