When we’re on the move with our kids, there are four little words that we all dread hearing – and no, we don’t mean, ‘Are we there yet?’
Nope, worse still than backseat whinging are the words, ‘Mummy, I feel sick.’
Motion sickness is most common in children aged three to 12, meaning it’s something that most of us will have to deal with at some point.
But the good news is that there are ways to combat travel sickness and reduce the risk of a roadside mishap.
Try these nine great ideas for size.
Keep it smooth
Motion sickness is caused by repeated movements while travelling, like going over bumps and round corners.
These movements affect your child’s inner ear balance and send confusing messages to their brain, which causes nausea.
The NHS recommends helping your child keep as still as possible, using a pillow or headrest to stop their head bobbing about.
Many kids with car sickness find that looking down at a book, phone or tablet makes them feel more unwell.
Encourage them to look at a stable object instead, such as the horizon: why not get them engrossed in a game of I Spy to keep them looking up and out of the window?
Give them some fresh air
Overheating can make sickness worse, so make sure your child doesn’t get too hot and sweaty in the car. Sometimes, cracking open a window to give them a blast of fresh air can help to ease nausea.
Listen to music
The more your child worries about being sick, the more likely it is that they’ll be sick, so it’s important to help them relax.
Listening to music or an audio book can be a good distraction, taking their mind off the possibility of throwing up.
Have a snooze
If your child’s able to sleep on the move, they’re less prone to feeling sick, so in-car naps are to be encouraged.
It’s often tempting to keep your child supplied with a constant stream of crisps, biscuits and snacks to quell their backseat whinging, but eating too much before or during a journey can worsen travel sickness.
If your child needs a meal before setting off, make sure it’s light and bland: nothing too substantial, greasy or spicy.
And on the move, stick to plain snacks like dry crackers and water.
Take a break
Try to allow extra time in your journey so you can stop for breaks if your child starts feeling yucky.
Taking 10 minutes to stretch your legs, have some fresh air and have a drink of water can help to ‘reset’ your child, easing their nausea before you get back in the car.
Try alternative remedies
Looking for a natural treatment for travel sickness?
Many people swear by the anti-nausea effects of ginger, so you could try giving your child a ginger biscuit or ginger sweets to nibble on in the car, or let them have a drink of cooled ginger tea.
Acupressure wristbands also help some people: these are available in child and adult sizes, and apply pressure to a point on the inside of the wrist that’s believed to ease sickness.
Neither of these remedies are guaranteed, but with no side effects to worry about, they’re well worth trying.
Talk to your pharmacist or GP
If motion sickness is a real problem for your child, ask your GP or pharmacist whether they can recommend medication.
Some over-the-counter treatments are suitable for children, and may be worth trying if you’ve got a long road trip ahead.
And as the side effects typically include drowsiness, they could also help your child slumber away the journey, ensuring peaceful travels for the rest of the family!