Help Kids with Motion Sickness on Vacation

You know the drill. You’re settling in for an impossibly long road trip or flight with your kids and hear the telltale groans and smacking of lips. You know your child is going to get sick. We can all take comfort our kids aren’t truly sick and we get to travel at all, but motion sickness is still a major source of stress, especially for kids ages 2 to 12 who are most susceptible to feeling queasy in motion. Fortunately, there are ways to stay on top of it without letting motion sickness ruin your child’s fun.

Skip the Movies

It’s tempting to hand over a digital device to keep your child happy and distracted while battling through motion sickness. But, in reality, that may just make their nausea worse. If you child can’t read in the car without feeling ill, chances are high they’ll have the same reaction from watching a movie or playing a video game. Instead, rely on audio books or listen to music, along with a healthy dose of playing games like spotting license plates from all 50 states while on the road.

Child on bus

© Pavla Zakova |

Go for All Natural Cures

Some motion sickness sufferers swear by motion sickness bracelets with raised plastic bumps two inches above your inner wrist that press between your tendons. The bands take a cue from acupuncture and press a specific area that alleviates nausea. And if your family is into essential oils, try ginger or lavender in tandem with your bands to potentially distract your senses and soothe your child’s motion sickness.

Change Their Diet

Stopping for fast food and treats is often part of the fun of a road trip, but is one of the worst things for motion sickness. Loading up on greasy meals can just amplify motion sickness. Rely on lighter snacks and meals throughout the day and make your final stop of the day a heavier dinner if needed. Offer suckers or pass back ice water and electrolyte drinks to keep your kids feeling satiated in between light snacks and meals.

Keep Things Cool

Cold air is your child’s best friend when it comes to motion sickness. Make sure the car is comfortably ventilated and check in with your child once in awhile to see if they’re getting enough cool air. Rolling down the windows on a chilly day can help refresh them if you can’t stop often enough. Just make sure to grab some extra blankets or sweatshirts in case you need to keep the car cold but your passengers warm.

Solicit Professional Help

If your child’s motion sickness is debilitating, you need to take a trip to to the doctor and ask about prescription-strength medication or an over-the-counter option like Dramamine. Ask what’s age appropriate and about the side effects. You could end up with a drowsy kid who wants to sleep on the road and run wild at night.

Motion sickness can put a damper on a family vacation, but doesn’t have to derail it. Focus on soothing your child’s sickness and move on once things are under control. At the end of the day, you want your family vacation memories to be about togetherness, not the sick bag.