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Child car sickness, is it unavoidable?

Carsickness. Is it inevitable?


Children being car sick is quite natural: children are not used to long periods without being able to move around, these periods of inactivity coupled with unexpected movements, such as on going round a bend, can end in car sickness and even vomiting if they have a full stomach.

How to avoid children being car sick

Let’s consider this: 30 years ago journeys on secondary roads were much more common than they are today. The cars had a different suspension system, the seats were different (we can’t say less comfortable because at the time we didn’t know any better) and air-conditioning wasn’t standard. It could be very hot in the car; we could move around much more (we didn’t use a CRS), all this combined to make carsickness almost obligatory.
Today technology allows us to travel much more comfortably, much more stable, in a much more pleasant environment with much less noise, above all we travel much less on secondary roads, at least for most of the journey. Travelling on a freeway is much less likely to cause carsickness, as the bends are much wider.
Although we still get car sick, we can usually avoid it by following a few simple tips. That is to say, we cannot guarantee 100% that you won’t get sick but these tips can help to prevent it.

  • Drive smoothly, without accelerating or braking hard. This is not such a problem on freeways as it might be on a secondary road but we should attempt to keep this in mind whenever we are driving.
  • Maintain a pleasant environment within the car, using recycled air and maintaining a comfortable temperature. If possible use sunshades on the rear Windows to reduce the heat from the sun.
  • Try to remain fully hydrated when travelling, even more important for the children. Being thirsty has a negative effect on children so carry some chilled water with you.
  • If possible, try to keep the children looking forward (whenever they can, depending on their age) and avoid erratic movements (looking down, moving around etc.). Car entertainment systems are a Godsend.
  • Try to make frequent rest stops to stretch your legs. Children get bored and boredom contributes to carsickness.
  • Have a meal but make it light. Digesting a heavy meal while in the car can increase the chances of being carsick and of course vomiting.

In a few words, you must try to ensure a comfortable calm journey in a pleasant environment, avoid heavy meals, keep them entertained and well hydrated and make as many rest stops as are necessary to stretch your legs. These guidelines should help you to have a comfortable journey without sudden carsickness.

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