Road trips with a nauseous child are no fun at all. Luckily, there are lots of effective car sickness remedies that can help prevent and relieve their upset tummy quickly.
Motion sickness is unfortunately pretty common in kids. It can make even the shortest trips miserable for everyone. But we have found the best mom approved tips, tricks, hacks, and even meds to get relief.
Car sickness remedies can be unique to the individual so what works for one person may not work for the next. That’s why we’ve come up with as many different options as we could so you can figure out which works best for your child.
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In This Guide:
1 | Provide Entertainment
You’ll want to avoid videos or books, as looking down and focusing on something close may increase the child’s feeling of motion sickness.
Here are a few entertainment ideas for car sickness remedies:
- Music. The tunes can be catchy, dancey, or funny – whatever they’ll respond to best. Sometimes my daughter will willingly jam to Frozen or Trolls music. However, when she’s really sick I have to pull out the big guns. That’s when I bring out the song ‘Farting ‘Round the House’. It’s terribly inappropriate, I hate it. But it makes her laugh and laugh until she forgets about anything bothering her. *sigh*
- Stories. There are lots of good kid story options on Spotify. Our family enjoys listening to fairy tales, Disney stories, and sometimes even spooky Halloween legends. Roy Dotrice retells lots of Disney stories with music that are a big hit with my kids.
- Games. You can talk to them and play word games. We practice counting by 5’s, 10’s, 3’s, etc. Sometimes we’ll play a game called “let’s have a picnic” where we go through the alphabet and name an item we’d bring to a picnic with each letter. I-spy is a popular game too. And I also like “guess the sound” games on YouTube.
- Podcasts. There are lots of cool podcasts for kids out there, our family’s favorite is “Brains On”.
It’s also important to note that some kids become sick when their senses are overloaded. So keeping things quiet is also a good thing to try.
2 | Easy Non-Medication Car Sickness Remedies
If your child frequently struggles with car sickness be sure to have some of the quick and easy motion sickness remedies. These are perfect for carrying in your diaper bag, purse, or car so you always have them on hand.
Here are our top non-medication car sickness remedies:
- Peppermints. Mint is great for helping to settle upset tummies. Plus, it’s super easy to just keep a handful of hard candies in your bag. As an added bonus, this feels like a treat for kids who don’t usually get much candy which can improve a sour mood too. Unfortunately, hard candies can pose a choking hazard for young kids, so these are best for older kids.
- Chewing gum. Another easy item that you may already have your purse that can help alleviate car sickness is chewing gum. The mint can help, but you can also get ginger gum which is also good for an upset stomach. Gum is also not recommended for young kids under 4 since they don’t understand to chew it and not swallow.
- Snacks. For longer trips, light and bland snacks are a must to keep car sickness at bay. You don’t want an empty tummy, so several very small snacks can help. Some crackers or cereal to nibble on is usually a good idea. Keep it small and bland.
- Sea bands. Popular for relieving motion sickness of cruise ships, these bands use pressure points on the wrist for nausea relief. Some people swear by them, others don’t seem to find them helpful, but they are a totally natural, easy, inexpensive, and noninvasive option, so it may be worth the small investment to try them out for yourself.
- Motion sickness glasses. There are special glasses designed to alleviate car sickness. Unlike regular eyeglasses, these frames don’t have glass lenses, but use liquid rings. They may look a little silly, but lots of people claim they work, just check out those great reviews.
3 | Set Yourself Up for Success
There are a couple of car sickness remedies you can set up before your trip.
First, you want to make sure your child has something in their tummy, preferably a bland snack. Be sure to avoid greasy food and large meals prior to the trip.
If possible, set up the car seat in the middle of the backseat. This will encourage your child to look out the front window when driving. Looking forward toward the horizon is thought to minimize feelings of motion sickness.
Set up opaque window shades on the side windows of the back seat. Again, this will discourage looking out the side windows which can cause feelings of nausea. Bonus, it will also help keep the back seat cool!
Finally, it’s always a good idea to have disposable vomit bags conveniently on hand, just in case. These bags are a lifesaver and fit perfectly in the glove compartment. They’re wide brimmed and super easy to use.
And if your child is prone to vomiting, you should also keep a change of clothes for them (and you!) in the car as well.
4 | Keep It Cool
Feeling too warm is an extremely common trigger for car sickness. Keeping your little one cool is so important to help avoid and relieve motion sickness.
Use these ideas to stay cool in the car:
- A/C. Obviously, if it’s warm outside, keep the air conditioning cranked up. Depending on how your car’s air system works, make sure you have vents open and it is blasting in the back.
- Noggle. Even with the A/C on, it can be really hard in many cars to get air flowing to the back seat especially for kids in rear-facing seats. The Noggle is a tube that fits to a front vent and pipes air directly back to your child. They look a little silly, but are effective and a great idea for hotter climates.
- No sweaters or jackets. Take off any extra layers when getting your child into the car. This is especially important when it’s cooler outside since in the car, it can still get very warm particularly in the sun. It’s also good to note that puffy coats shouldn’t be worn in car seats ever, aside from the risk of overheating, they can prevent a snug enough fit on the harness.
- Portable fan. Help get your child more air flow with a portable fan since directing air on their face can help with car sickness. Ideally hook the fan out of the reach of little ones and make sure it is secured in place.
- Window shade. Sun beating down on your child through the window can make them overheat even on a cold day. Putting a window sun shade up can help them keep cool and may prevent car sickness. As an added bonus, many also block harmful UV rays as well.
5 | Kid-Friendly Meds
It’s important that you consult your pediatrician before giving your child any medication, even over-the-counter car sickness remedies.
One of the most popular and effective medical options for children is Dramamine. These chewable Dramamine tablets can be given as young as 2 years old! Some parents even report relief after giving only half a tablet 15 minutes prior to the car trip.
Another popular option is Bonine. However, kids chewable Bonine tablets are only supposed to be given to children 6 years and up. One major benefit is that they supposedly cause less drowsiness than Dramamine.
Both Bonine and Dramamine are antihistamines that decrease feelings of nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
Any other car sickness remedies that worked for your family? Let us know in the comments!