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Carsickness in Kids – Solutions for your next family trip

Nothing can sour a family road trip more than the mad dash to find a roadside restroom or a spare plastic bag to keep your child from getting sick on the car seat. Not only is it uncomfortable for your child, that telltale smell that follows isn’t the best travel companion, either. Though there’s no sure cure for carsickness, read on for a few tips to reduce the need to shampoo the backseats after every car ride.

  • Declare your car a no-smell zone. Ban perfumes and cologne for the car ride, as smells can exacerbate carsickness.
  • Eat lightly beforehand. Fried food should especially be avoided, as it can upset stomachs. If your kids are hungry, offer a light snack, such as crackers, fruit, or carrot sticks.
  • Tell your children to avoid reading in the car. Focusing on words while in a car will send the brain mixed messages, which causes nausea. If they’re craving a good story, try audiotapes – this way, the whole family can enjoy.
  • Keep your kids occupied by talking to them about school, things you see on the road, or where you’re headed. Kids will concentrate less on feeling sick and more on the conversation. Car games, like searching for different state license plates or playing “I Spy,” can help keep your kids distracted, too.
  • Time your travel for nighttime or early in the morning, when children are more likely to doze off through the trip.
  • Check the height of smaller children’s car seats so that they can see out the front window, which will appear less blurry than the side windows and can help ease carsickness. Additionally, tell kids who are feeling sick to look out to the horizon. Looking into the distance, rather than something close-up, can ease nausea.
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