Overcoming a Carsick Kid

I can count on my hands the number of times my oldest has gotten sick in his five years of life. While he has had his fair share of breathing emergencies as an asthmatic kid, we simply never had to deal with car vomit, crib vomit, vomit because I jumped in the air, vomit because I’m sitting down, vomit just as we put him in his high chair until my boy twin came along. 

We are in the midst of trying to figure out why it happens with a gastroenterologist, but in the meantime, I have a few tips we can share that helps us to combat and deal with his “predictable vomit” – carsickness. Figuring out some of the below has afforded us the ability to finally leave the house and to feel less like total prisoners stuck at home.

Tips to save your sanity (and your car/carseat):

  1. Always pack a puke bag. Yes – this sounds like a ton of fun – but ours contains the following: 2 changes of clothes, towels, doggie poo bags (cheaper than buying baby ones, and they are rolled up small vs. a big ball of Kroger bags), spray Lysol, and Clorox wipes.
  2. If you can, leave your house as soon as they wake up in the morning, or after a nap – before feeding them anything. We only plan outings when our little dude has an empty stomach. Limiting, yes, but at least we can all get to where we are going in a good mood (unlike our trip to the Kings Island Winterfest – literally puked as we got to the parking lot).
  3. Have something for them to focus on – in our case, we can plan movies in the car, but that does not hold his attention as he’s still pretty young.  Instead, it’s usually me, doing songs with hand gestures (itsy bitsy spider and six little ducks) or showing something on my phone, as then he thinks its especially for him.
  4. If you eat while you are out – plan for some down time before you get back into the car. For us, we find a park or something nearby to let him run it out after a meal – which can also wear him out before we get back to the car so he falls asleep and forgets to get carsick.
  5. ONLY travel on roads you are familiar with if you can – and keep them as flat and unwindy as possible, taking extra time to ease into and out of stop lights.  I.e., don’t be all Fast and Furious or try off-roading, unless you feel like wrestling to clean a car seat and child dripping in puke.
  6. Keep the car cool with air flowing at all times.  This is tricky in colder months, as the rest of the car may want the warm, hot heat blowing on them, but feeling warm can induce sickness.
  7. Invest in some really great aprons/bibs that they can’t rip off of them – catching as much of that yuck before it gets stuck in every nook and cranny of our race car style car seats will be the biggest blessing you’ve ever been given.

Other options

Some people find success with things like motion bracelets, Benadryl (per doctor’s recommendations), oils like peppermint and ginger chews. Still, others have told us to try chiropractic adjustments and fans in the car. So far – feels like we are 0 for 100. He could grow out of this someday.  Or he could live his life like this, too.

Since I have some carsickness myself (I can’t read in a car for too long, or turn around for very long), it’s to be expected that at least one of my kids is, too. Here’s hoping we get past it. And, here’s a friendly nod to those of you who’ve been the frazzled mama in the parking lot of wherever you were headed, with random plastic bags around you on the ground – as you know this life all too well.

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