Carsickness & Motion Sickness

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Motion sickness in 9-year-old

March 2009

My 9 year old daughter gets motion sick driving around the Bay Area. Does anyone know of any homeopathic methods for motion sickness? We are planning a road trip this summer, but maybe not... barf bag blues

Sitting in the front seat always helped me. I was terribly car- sick as a kid on anything but short straight rides. anon


Try ginger capsules or tablets... Also, you might be able to find something called Nux Vomica. Might work. kevin

You describe me exactly as a child -- and now. Sitting with good cool air flow on my face helps alot. As a child I always drove with a large towel on my lap.

I think that accupuncture is better with this than homeopathy since it is an inner ear/balance issue. You might also try osteopathy if you don't want needles. I have recently had luck with pressure points so reflexology might also be something you can try on the go. I learned about the pressure points from my accupunturist though. Good luck and even though I got sick alot as a child, I still enjoyed going on trips with my family. Motion sicky

I also have dealt with motion sickness my entire life.

The most useful and effective thing is an acupressure point for nausea and motion sickness, which is conveniently located below the wrist. You simply massage it yourself when you start to feel queasy. Make sure you get the point right -- there is a diagram at which shows the location of the acupressure point. If you get the point right, and practice massaging both wrists at the same time, it helps immensely. There is a product you can buy called ''sea bands'' which are essentially wristbands with a large bead that you position over the pressure point. I have those, and they're okay, but I never have them when I need them. Bonus: I used this pressure point for morning sickness during pregnancy, and it works for that too!

Another thing I learned is to make sure I'm not travelling on an empty stomach. Sounds counter-intuitive, you might think it is better to have an empty stomach so as not to have anything to lose. I get sickest on an empty stomach. Granted, you don't want an overly full stomach either.
Bring a bottle of water and take tiny sips. Try a lollipop or some gum. Breathe big deep breaths. Roll the window down a little. Stay cool - don't crank up the heat in the car, and do take off a jacket. Look at the horizon or the most distant point you can find that is straight ahead through the front windshield of the car. Try not to look out the side windows if possible (hard to avoid peripheral vision, but that's what gets you). Problem is, you also don't want to close your eyes. Avoid strong smells such as perfume, air freshener or cigarette smells in the car. Even if the car belongs to a nonsmoker, the presence of an article of clothing belonging to a smoker can totally set off my motion sickness in a car (I can tolerate it elsewhere, but not in a car). A lot of things that help with morning sickness and other nausea also help for motion sickness -- ginger, saltine crackers, 7Up, ginger ale, etc.
I hope this helps, and good luck! L

Will DVDs make 4-year-old's carsickness worse?

Sept 2008

I'm planning a long car trip in a few weeks with my two kids. My 4.5 year old often complains that ''her throat hurts'' when we're in the car. I'm not sure, but I think she's trying to tell us she feels carsick. (she threw up once after saying that for a while, although that time could have just been a stomach bug.) Has anyone else experienced this? We usually give her mints or gum, although sometimes even that doesn't help or they don't last long enough. I'm anticipating lots of stops and breaking the drive over two days, but I was hoping that using a DVD player would help us make good time. Will this make the carsickness worse? I will also try to get stories on tape and of course favorite music, but any suggestions on managing the nausea and surviving the long drive would be very helpful! --queasy when I was a child too

I've had on and off carsickness all my life. The one thing that really helps me is to keep my head up and forward -- particularly if I'm looking as far to the forward horizon as I can. So DVDs, especially if they're on a portable player that's low and/or to the side (e.g. on the seat beside your child) may be problematic. If the player is installed on the ceiling of your car, it may be OK. Rather than mints or gum, it might help if you can get your child to chew on crystallized ginger (big if, I know). There's quite a bit of evidence that ginger is effective for motion sickness. Karen

Is it possible that your daughter is getting a little dehydrated in the car? That would certainly explain the sore throat, as well as the at least partial relief provided by mints and gum. I would definitely try letting her have something to drink in the car. After all, breaks for using the restroom are much shorter than breaks for getting over nausea. If your daughter really is suffering from carsickness (and she might be, although her symptoms don't sound anything like what I've experienced myself as a long-time, frequent motion-sickness sufferer), I would absolutely not let her watch DVDs (or look at books for that matter). My experience has been that my brain seems to need the motion I feel to match the motion I expect (based on what I see). Watching a DVD, where there is lots of movement that is completely unrelated to the movement of the car, is intensely nauseating. When my family, which included three kids who suffered from motion sickness, used to make car long trips (easily 24 hours driving), we spent lots of time listening to music, singing, playing the ABC game where you try to find the letters of the alphabet in order (on signs, license plates, etc), playing ''I See Something'', playing a game we called ''gook'' (''the first person who sees a (green truck), say gook''), playing ''Animal, Vegetable, Mineral'', etc. Books on tape would have been great, but we didn't have them. Basically, we kids kept our eyes focused on the road, not something inside the car. Good luck! Anonymous

Why not just get some dramamine or bonine to help with the nausea? It works for our 4 year old who got car sick a few times. Hasn't happened since giving her the dramamine. No nausea mom

Put her booster in the middle of the back seat, so she can see out the front windshield, then make sure she looks forward out the window as much as possible. Also, lots of snacks, ginger candies if she will eat them. I think looking at a dvd player would make her nauseous. carsick too

Yes ''my throat hurts'' means ''I'm likely to throw up soon!'' At least it did for my daughter. Never tried DVD's, but I highly recommend dramamime (you can get the non-drowsy one if you want, but we usually used the regular one for long trips...). Keep an extra set of clothes handy and some plastic bags! Luckily she has outgrown it now :)

Fear of Flying -- anxiety plus motion sickness?

Feb 2008

I wrote the original post about being afraid to fly...Thanks for all of the responses! [Editor Note: see this page ]

Many folks have gotten relief from taking anti-anxiety drugs to help them during a flight. I have taken ativan during several flights before and it was somewhat helpful. However, the issue for me is that I also get terrible motion sickness (which I have had my whole life and have in cars, boats and other non- anxiety producing situations.) I definitely need to take something for the motion sickness and have been told not to take it with an anti-anxiety drug because they both make you sleepy. Anyone else have a drug combo they like to address both situations? fearful and nauseated flyer

One word: GINGER! I get MISERABLY motion sick. Tried every Rx and non Rx med around until I was in England and going over to France via ferry and forgot my meds. The only thing they had in the ferry gift shop was ginger tabs. I took them and fifteen years later can't imagine ever living without. I buy the capsules and take two an hour before flying and then every three hours while flying. They are 99% effective. I've never vomited, but once on a super turbulent flight I did feel a tiny bit queasy. So, GINGER!! Very Queasy Traveler

Okay so I know exactly what you are going through. I have really bad motion sickness, I can't sit in an ocean side restaurant and look at the sea without getting sick. I am also very anxious about flying. I stopped flying at one point for about 7 years. The combination that I have come up with, which I am not saying is safe but I have taken dozens of times is 2 dramamine (normal dose) and 2 sudafed (normal dose) every 6 hours and then about 8 zanx that are the lowest dose .25 mg and I might take that again for a long flight. This combo has worked really well for me but now i am going to be trying my first flight free of medications with my new baby because I am breast feeding exclusively. Good luck feel free to email me if you would like. I have also taken the fear of flying course at SFO Laura

A healthy alternative to medication for fear of flying - I had hypnotherapy sessions with Dr. Francis Dreher in Kensington for my fear of flying. Prior to hypnotherapy I took anti-anxiety medication when flying but now instead I listen to his hypnotherapy tapes every night for about a week before trips. I still have to work at releasing the anxiety caused by flying and can at times have some tense moments when in flight but I am able to fly and I feel totally fine when I get off of the plane. With medication I found that I was calm during the flight but once the flight was over I felt very drowsy and ended up losing at least the rest of the day when flying because I was so tired from the meds. It might be worth a try. Gretchen

4.5 year old gets sick in the car

April 2007

My 4 1/2 year old boy has just recently started getting car sick when we're in the car, even for very short periods of time. I've tried the usual, cracking a window, encouraging him to look ahead out the front window rather than down at whatever toy he's holding, etc. Nothing seems to work that great so far. I'm looking for any other strategies/suggestions/remedies, maybe even something I can give him to build a resistance to motion sickness. I'm wondering too why he's just started having this reaction now and whether it's something he's likely to grow out of. Thanks for any input you might have! Wanting to Avert Motion Sickness

sometimes it means something about the child's vision. but also people just sometimes get it. our son has found those motion sickness wrist bands to be really helpful. you can get them from amazon i think. they are colorful and kid-sized. anon

Both my children get motion sickness in the car. I use Dramamine and it really helps. They have chewable for children and all they need is 1/2 tablet about 30 minutes before you know when the road is going to get curvy. It worked really well and they never had any drowsiness. My older child now prefers the regular tablets (those you can swallow). I also have to take it so we all feel so much better that there is something that will help us instead of the vomiting alternative. been there remedy for that

I don't have any solutions that you haven't already thought of, but my daugther's car sickness set in around the same age, and I think that's typical. Curvy roads are, of course, worse, so I think about that when considering what route to take. And I've also decided to skip some outings that would involve too many winding roads. Mary

I can definitely sympathize. My 5 year old started this when he was about 3 1/2. He can only handle about 25 minutes in the car before vomiting. I have found that he is more prone to feeling sick if his stomach is empty. I know it sounds counter- intuitive, but I find if he munches on dry, bland snacks in the car, he feels fine for over an hour. We don't leave the house without dry cereal, crackers, apples, pretzels and cold water to drink. We have moved his car seat to the middle of the back seat and play games such as I Spy to keep him focused further down the road. Also, I do not allow him to read, play with toys, or watch DVDs in the car as it keeps his focus inside the car and he is sick in about 10 minutes. If we have a long car trip, I give him dramamine. There is a chewable one for kids. Your doctor could give you the correct dosage. I hope this helps a little. In the same car

Wow! I could've written the EXACT same post! Funny - my 6 year old has never had this issue before, but beginning 3 months ago, has been getting sick often even in very short trips in the car. Wondering what's goin' on... Sistersue

We use ginger tea (in a water bottle) and candied ginger and it helps settle our stomachs. mirsun

Had any success using wristbands?

August 2006

Hello, Our 4 year old son has suffered from pretty severe motion sickness since he was 2. He is only able to tolerate about 25 minutes in a car, bus, train, or plane before vomiting. He also complains of headaches and dizziness before he is sick. Obviously, this limits our outings. For long trips and plane rides, we have used Dramamine which works well. The problem is that it puts him to sleep for about 6 hours. I am wondering if anyone out there has used the motion sickness wristbands with any success. Is there something else out there that works besides the wristbands or dramamine? Also wondering, will he outgrow this? Staying close to home

Yes, they work. Maybe it's just placebo, but my very motion sickness prone kid pukes a lot less frequently since we got them. We use them for any long car ride and I think he's only thrown up once with them on. For extreme situations -- boat trips for instance -- we use the non-drowsy formula of dramamine nelly

Studies have shown that the pressure wristbands have zero effect, but that the electrical impulse wristbands work for some folks. I get airsick (and seasick, and carsick when I can't see the horizon) without Dramamine, so when I was pregnant I tried the electrical bands instead. They didn't help me. The shock actually hurts a little bit; I can't imagine a child tolerating them. I bought mine for $100 from Sharper Image and returned them with no problems Nicole R.

I have used the wrist bands and they did not help me one bit. The only other recommendation I have comes from a friend's experience with her son. He got sick in the car almost from the time he was born (she always had a bucket in the car). When he started school they discovered he had very poor vision. They got him glasses and the motion sickness vanished. Good luck Karen

I have suffered from jet lag everytime I return from a long trip by air. Last week I used the ''Sea Bands'' available at Longs during the flight (I don't get the nausea until after I get off the plane). For the first time I did not get sick like I have after every other trip. I would give them a try for your son. Good luck Melanie

Unfortunately, I can't speak as to whether your son will outgrow this. But ever since I was pregnant, (my daughter is now 15 months), I get pretty bad motion sickness. I have found the wristbands to work surprisingly well. I virtually have no motion sickness when using them. Good luck! Sympathetic to your son Anon

Advice for Mother of Motion Sick 4 Year Old I have had severe motion sickness my entire life (childhood into adulthood) - cars, planes, boats, even trains do it. I spent my childhood trying various remedies (including Dramamine ,which also made me tired, the wrist bands, and even an electical pulsing wristband) before I happened on the my wonder drug - ginger capsules. Everyone says ''take ginger for nausea'' but it's really true! However, you really need a high dosage to protect against motion sickness. I take two capsules every 3 1/2 hours and it does the trick 99% of the time (occasionally on a really rough plane landing, I'll get a little queasy). One capsule for a 4yr old would probably do the trick. You can buy them at Whole Foods, vitamin shops, and even many drug stores. I recently forced a few on a non-believing friend of mine who is now a convert. Try it! It really works! Melanie

I don't know about for kids, but the wristbands really work well for me. They might be so large on a kid that the correct amount of pressure wouldn't be exerted on the pressure points. I get carsick and seasick VERY easily, and if I'm wearing these bands, I'm fine. (Of course, I take other precautions, too, like sitting forward and as close to the front as possible and having maximum fresh air. Looking off into the distance is better than looking at things whizzing by.) Linda

I haven't used the wrist bands but yes, they should definately work since they are based on a very potent acupressure point. It's an excellent point, actually, for all those with morning sickness as well. The wrist band will be more accessible to a 4 year old but for those of you who want to find the point on yourselves, see below. 1. Start at your wrist with your palm facing you. 2. Measure three fingers' widths away from your wrist (where your wrist and hand meet). 3. In the center of where that third finger lies is the pressure point used for motion/morning sickness. Note: Make sure you use your own fingers to measure the width anon

16-month-old is vomiting often, usually in the car

Jan 2005

Hi, My 16-month-old is vomiting almost every 2-3 days, mostly in the car, and mostly in the mornings. I've taken her to the pediatrician, who thinks it is either GERD, sinusitis, or carsickness. If it's carsickness or GERD, those require medications to be given regularly. I hate the idea of giving my child medication every day. Has anyone else been in this position? What have you done to minimize nausea? I'm desperate for ideas...! Thanks for your help. Sandra

I was a carsick kid. What made me sick was the smell of vinyl, especially in newer cars, so we rolled the windows down, which helped. I also did better in cars with cloth seating. The smell of tar also made me ill. If your child suffers because of the motion, they may want you to give her medication, but you might try pepermint tea with a little sugar first to settle her stomach before putting her in the car (fresh pepermint boiled, strained, then served with a little sugar and ice cubes). Peppermint helps with stomach ailments, but it sounds like you may be forced to use the medication. anon

Helping 5-year-old with carsickness

Dec 1999

My five year old complains of carsickness and seems genuinely ill when we go just about anywhere in the car (though he's only thrown up once or twice). We try to avoid taking him on car errands as much as possible but really want to get out of town (or even up to Tilden!) now and then. Does anybody who's been through this have thoughts or suggestions?

I always found that car sickness seemed to diminish after a big meal.

My son who is now 8 used to cry when we went anywhere when he was a baby; in retrospect he was probably suffering from carsickness. He has continued to get sick when we drive even a relatively short distance on the freeway (45 minutes max). Five minutes on a curvy road like Hwy 1 makes him sick. Last weekend we couldn't go from Stinson Beach to Bolinas without stopping. We purchased acupressure bracelets from a place (Wholistic Health Institute or something like that) on Shattuck near the post office & across from Andronicos that seemed to work for awhile. We've tried giving him gingerale (which he hates). Last summer the bracelets didn't work when they had formerly on a trip to Big Sur via Hwy 1. He was miserable; and we had a very long trip home. On a camping trip around the Great Lakes later in the summer we brought along dramamine that his pediatrician recommended. Apparently it is available in liquid form but we couldn't find it so we bought the tablets, crushed them and mixed them in pudding cups (after the acupressure bracelets failed miserably on a freeway stretch). He considers it a treat and it worked like a charm. Need to take the medicine one hour before getting on the road. That's the solution; never thought I would be giving my young son dramamine but the alternative didn't work and he was miserable; now he's happy (and he doesn't seem sedated by it either). Would emphasize checking with your pediatrition.

Our family doesn't go on many car trips because both of my sons get carsick and it takes the fun out of the adventure. But last year my youngest had a problem with carsickness just going to and from school that turned out to be a sinus infection. So in the future I will rule out sinus or inner ear trouble if it gets really bad again. Otherwise I've heard saltine crackers are good to carry with you (or we use original flavor goldfish) and sitting in the front seat with a little air on is best (we have found that having the heater on exasperates it).

Both my son and myself are notorious sufferers. Advice: Try to avoid windy roads (I go out of my way to get to Tilden), go slowly but steadily, keep the air conditioning on, eat something half an hour before you go, have some air sickness bags along, don't give anything to drink in car if he's sick. My ped suggests Benadryl for airplanes-it's the sleepiness that helps. Only time we ever had substantial problems (I got thrown up on 4x) was when we didn't.

Recently I discovered ginger pills (capsules with powdered ginger in them) for seasickness - perhaps they would work for carsickness, too. They worked great, and didn't make me sleepy. I was really surprised, since I've tried about everything, and the only thing that really ever worked well was scopalamine (I think that's the way to spell it). The ginger pills did wear off after a couple of hours, however. Next time I'll be sure to have a supply along with me. I'm not sure if it's the kind of thing that would be a different dosage for a child.

A homeopathic remedy called Tabacum works great for me. It's specifically for motion sickness, but I use it when I'm just a little queezy, too. You can get it at Whole Foods. Boiron makes it.

I missed the original post but as someone who has suffered motion sickness all my life, I'd like to offer some insights for parents who haven't experienced it themselves.

* Dramamine usually works great, just make sure it is OK for the age of child you are giving it to. Remember you have to take it bofore the trip, I think 30 minutes. Also note that motion sickness doesn't just affect kids in cars. It can also be on boats, planes, trains, and amusement park rides (For me, Star Tours is the toughest ride at Disneyland. Space Mountain I can take once or twice. I've been meaning to try some of the rides on Dramamine sometime.)

Even if the person doesn't vomit, they may still be feeling queasy from driving or other movement. So if your child says they aren't hungry don't push it. Let them go without eating, talking about food or being around food for as long as they need. (My mother only made the mistake of trying to talk me into eating after a long car ride once!)

If the child gets car sick, the better they can see out and anticipate motion the better. I know there are safety considerations, but keep in mind that sitting backwards (remember this on BART trains too), looking down, and being in a seat where they can't see out make it worse. (Definitely don't lay on your back in the back of a station wagon and look up at the redwood trees going by through the back window!)Being next to the window is better than being in the middle. Being in the front is better than being in the back. Being old enough to be the drive is best! Having a game or book to look down at in the car is a lousy idea.

Stops often give ones stomach a chance to calm down a bit. Let them know it isn't an inconvenience to stop if they need to; the alternative is much worse.

Also, motion sickness never has been a problem when I was sleeping, so putting them in the car when they are tired might help.

One more idea for the family of the carsick child: I was a terribly carsick child, and the only thing that really, reliably worked for me was to sit by a window (front seat better than back), unroll it just enough to put two or three fingers outside, and concentrate on how cold my fingers were getting in the wind. It sounds strange, I imagine, but it really worked for me. I was previously a child who couldn't be driven around the block without having to stop and...well, you get the idea.

Sea bands for motion sickness?

Dec 2004

has anyone tried wearing sea bands to combat motion sickness? do they work? are there better treatments?? sick traveller

As someone who has suffered from seasickness, car sickness, air sickness, even ferris wheel sickness, I feel for you. If by ''sea bands'' you mean the elastic bracelet with a plastic button on it, they don't work for me. What DOES work is the ''Relief Band'', which you also wear on the wrist. It looks sort of like a watch and sends an electric impulse that interferes with the nausea response to motion. Good luck! I can now take a boat ride and have stopped taking dramamine- type drugs on airplanes. The only negative is the cost. When I bought mine online at, I think,, it was around $85. Well worth it for me. To learn more, see: Nancy

Sea bands don't really work, in my experience. I believe studies have shown they're not terribly effective for most people. Dramamine works OK, but the regular kind makes me feel like a zombie. The non-drowsy variety is MUCH better. The scopalomine patch (available by prescription) supposedy works very well, but has possible side effects (drowsiness etc.), and I've never used it. ALL of these must be used BEFORE you get sick -- ideally, before you get on the boat or whatever. Karen

My wife is prone to motion/travel sickness, and she likes to use something called a Relief Band. It is shaped, and used, like a wristwatch, inverted, so it faces the inside of your wrist. You spread a thin film of conductive jelly on your wrist, and the band sends tiny electric impulses. Her only complaint-- she has hypersensitive skin, so she frequently gets a skin rash from the metal contacts on the watch (she also can't wear many earrings, metal jewelry, etc.). The relief from motion sickness is worth the rash, though. I found the band through an online med place-- retails for ~$85, but you can find it for more like $50-60. Good luck! Jim

You could try Bonine (or generic equivalent), an over the counter pill that is like Dramamine but shouldn't make you drowsy. It seemed to help me. David