Wednesday 23 October 2019

Dear Dr Nina: How can I help my children with travel sickness

Motion or travel sickness is very common, especially in children
Motion or travel sickness is very common, especially in children

Nina Burns

Q Two of my three children, both under the age of 5, suffer from travel sickness. Can you suggest anything to help them on car journeys?

Dr Nina replies: Travel sickness is very common and thought to affect about 33pc of people even with mild motion, whereas about 66pc are thought to be affected by severe motion. It occurs due to a disturbance in the inner ear due to repeated unusual motion of the body.

Children and women are most commonly affected, the reason for this is unclear. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

In order to avoid motion sickness firstly try and keep motion to a minimum. Sitting in the front of a car may help, though with children this isn't always possible. Gazing straight ahead in a moving car may help. Travelling during nap time, when they may get some rest, can help reduce the chance of motion sickness as visual input is eliminated. Fresh cool air may help, such as opening a car window. On long car journeys stopping frequently to get out into fresh air can be a solution. Chewing sweets or jellies can also help. Concentrating on screens will increase the sensory confusion to the brain. Avoid eating spicy or greasy foods before travelling and strong odours.

Ginger may help with nausea, so snacking on ginger biscuits or snaps can be helpful.

There are medicines available for travel sickness so talk to your pharmacist or doctor. Medicine is best taken before travel commences. Travel sickness is most common in children aged 3 to 12 and most do grow out of it.

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