Whether you’re spending a vacation day at local attractions or touring for weeks across the world, you’re going to have to travel to get to your summer destinations. When your child experiences motion sickness, it can ruin your whole excursion.
Alzein Pediatric Associates is here to help you avoid and treat motion sickness to keep your family happy and healthy, no matter where you’re going this summer.
Motion sickness is a common malady for kids ages 2 to 12. It happens when the brain gets confusing signals from the inner ears, the eyes and the nerves in the feet and hands. For instance, if a child is positioned in any vehicle – a car, bus, plane, ship or train – where he can’t see the outside, his inner ear can sense the motion, but his eyes and extremities can’t. All three senses must send the same signals of movement to the brain to avoid motion sickness. Motion sickness is characterized by an upset stomach that could lead to vomiting, a cold sweat, paleness and fatigue.
First, take steps to avoid motion sickness in the first place. If it’s a short trip, keep your child’s stomach empty. For longer trips, give your child a very light meal or snacks of bland food like saltine crackers – nothing greasy, rich or spicy. Avoid fast food.
Prohibit your children from watching movies, playing with smartphones or tablets, reading, drawing or coloring while traveling. Keep your child’s attention outside the vehicle far in the distance through the front window, not the side. Play games such as The Alphabet Game, finding letters in order on billboards, the memory game I Took A Trip or Twenty Questions, which is easily adaptable for kids of all ages. Start a story with “Once upon a time”, letting each traveler add to the plot, line by line. Visit your local library for children’s books on CD.
If at all possible, start your travel right before nap time or bed time, so children sleep during travel.
Make sure your child tells you as soon as he feels sick, so you can do all you can to make symptoms tolerable.
• If possible, stop the vehicle and let your child walk around. Continue to take frequent breaks as you travel.
• Wrap ice in a clean cloth and place it on his forehead with eyes closed.
• If possible, open windows for fresh, cool air.
• Help your child take slow, deep breaths to ease nausea.
• Bring along a cloth moistened with mint or ginger essential oil, placed in a plastic ziplock bag. Let your child breathe in that aroma.
• Have your child sip ginger ale.
• Apply light firm pressure to the inside of the wrist, or be ready with an acupressure wrist band.
If your child has experienced motion sickness before that does not respond to these conservative treatment methods, talk to your Alzein medical professional. We may recommend ginger extract or guide you through administering over-the-counter Dramamine in children older than two. In severe cases and in cases of very long trips, we may prescribe Zofran to ease symptoms.
It’s best to be prepared when traveling, even if your child had an iron stomach on your last trip. While most children outgrow motion sickness by the age of 12, a variety of factors including the intensity of motion and the level of stress or excitement can make symptoms appear unexpectedly.
When you have questions about staying healthy while traveling, we are here to help. Call your Alzein Pediatric Associates medical professional at 708-424-7600 today.