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Preventing Travel Sickness in Young Children

Shahida Rahman identifies the common causes of travel sickness and offers some solutions.

You can tell if your child is experiencing travel sickness if he or she begins to feel queasy, breaks out into a sweat, complains of a headache, and finally, begins to vomit.

 

 

Travelling with young children is usually challenging enough, but what do you do if your child develops travel sickness? Travel or motion sickness usually affects children from around six to eight years of age. Some children may still have a bout up until around twelve years old, but luckily they mostly outgrow it.

 

 

So what exactly is travel sickness? It is when the eyes and the body, more specifically the inner ear, feel two different ways. If a child is looking down reading or playing a video game, the eyes are not seeing the movement of the vehicle. The inner ear knows there is motion and the conflict between the two causes the motion sickness. These feelings, coupled with sharp smelling foods or gasoline, increase the chances of travel sickness occurring. You can tell if your child is experiencing travel sickness if he or she begins to feel queasy, breaks out into a sweat, complains of a headache, and finally, begins to vomit.

 

 

There are ways that you can prevent your child from getting “carsick.” Let the child sit with a full view of the road ahead. Don’t allow him or her to read or play games that have them looking downward while the car is in motion. Put on their favourite nasheeds on the radio or bring along some CDs and encourage them to sing along. Play a game that gets them to look out the windows, such as counting how many red cars they see.

 

 

Make sure that when you are travelling in a car that it is well ventilated. Nothing will make matters worse than a warm stuffy vehicle. Keep a supply of crackers on hand and even a little ginger ale to settle a potentially queasy stomach. If you can, try to stop at least once every hour to let everyone on board stretch and get a little fresh air. If you’re travelling with small children, you probably have no choice as little ones need frequent bathroom breaks.

 

 

If you are travelling by plane, you should try to get a seat that is over the wing. It seems to be an area that receives the least extreme movements while in the air. Travel by bus and train is about the same as a car so make sure you let the child sit closest to the window. Motion sickness while travelling by boat may be a little harder to prevent as many adults still experience it when dealing with the motion of the ocean. You might want to literally test the waters before travelling on a boat with young children.

 

 

Finally, if all else fails, consult your pediatrician and see if your child can take any of the anti-motion medications, such as Dramamine. There are several versions of anti-motion medications on the market now, including homeopathic, and some are definitely not for small children. Whether you are travelling by car, boat or plane, take the precautionary steps and be prepared in advance so your children, and your family, don’t have to endure travel sickness on your next outing.

 

 

Shahida Rahman is the author of historical novel, ‘Lascar’ and lives in Cambridge UK with her husband and four children. More details about her work can be found on:  www.shahidarahman.co.uk

 

 

 

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