Family Practitioner Questions Motion Sickness

Motion sickness in children?

My son experiences motion sickness whenever we travel, sometimes to the point of vomiting. I don't want to give him medication, so what can I do?

17 Answers

He may do best riding in the front seat, depending how big he is and if he still needs a car seat. Sometimes this can help.
There may be some inner ear maneuvers that could help, but you would need to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor to have this investigated.
If none of this works or finds an answer then medication may be the choice. Be sure to see what his primary care doctor recommends.
Take Care and God Bless
Nonmedicinal management of motion sickness includes:
(1) sitting where there is the least motion - For example, in the centre of the backseat
(2) a semi-reclined position with the head braced is best
(3) focus on things straight ahead outside the car, i.e., avoid reading and avoid looking at passing by things
(4) avoid the following before or during travel - dairy products, salty and fatty foods, large meals
(5) wristbands and magnets may be helpful, but there is little information on their efficacy
Might try sprite drink and avoid heavy meals before traveling.
Try a soda pop with known anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) properties, such as ginger ale. Let's how that works.

...Sorry for the late response.
Have you tried Sea Bands? They are bracelets which have a bead in an acupressure point. Sometimes they work.
So make sure he is hydrated and you can have him do eye exercises where he is focused on something in the forefront of his field of vision. Have him focus on a mountain or building that is far away. Giving children medications for travel is not always the best idea. You could also have him sit up front if he is above the age and weight for child safety seats and airbags.

Dr. Kelly Walker DNP, FNP-C, APRN
Understanding the cause and ruling out any underlying pathology is universally part of any answer on these boards. Assuming he is basically a healthy young lad-
Wrist bands may be one option:
Homeopathy is certainly another:|pcrid|166840070067|&gclid=CjwKCAjwj8bPBRBiEiwASlFLFTYotQU7S0ONcr2tRgC8h4ELARpNMM8TAq10CmpiDtReZxReRxHZyhoCogkQAvD_BwE
Peppermint tea made from the water of boiled fresh ginger to be sipped before and during the ride is also another option.
Good luck in your quest.
My folks smoked in the car and that made me nauseous. I assume you don't do that.
The causes for motion sickness in kids are many and to a certain extent not understood. However, certain things can be done to avoid it.

- Avoid meals totally before short trips. If longer trips are planned, offer children plain crackers and water 2-4 hours before the trip.
- Have children focus on things outside the car rather than reading or playing games.
- Turn on cool air ventilation in the car.
- If nausea occurs have the child exit the car and walk around. Place a cool wet compress on the head.
- Try plan trips during nap times so the child is asleep for most of the trip.
- Medications are effective for prophylaxis of motion sickness and cause drowsiness which encourages sleep, itself a treatment for motion sickness. Consult your doctor regarding proper dosing. Dramamine and Benadryl are two brand names often used.
Sea bands acupressure wrist bands are a nonpharmacologic way to help with motion sickness. You may also try keeping the AC blowing on him to avoid overheating which can worsen motion sickness. Good luck and don't hesitate to call your primary care doctor for assistance.

Kind Regards,
Adrea Samoleski, MD

Motion sickness is a tricky one! It’s very common in children, and though it tends to get better as we age it can make traveling very unpleasant. A light snack before travel sometimes helps, as can Sea-Bands or other acupressure type bands. Avoid reading or screens- these tend to make the problem worse. Unfortunately, some people will require medication. For children, I generally recommend Benadryl.
Your child should sit in the front seat if possible and look through the window at a fixed object as long as possible then shift to another fixed object like a billboard rather than sitting in the rear and focusing on an object moving with the interior of the car (such as a book).

Oscar F. Lovelace, Jr., MD
Poor guy; that’s tough! Small interventions can make a difference; make sure he’s not reading, encourage him to look in the distance, and consider using a window shade. Additionally, I recommend having his ears checked. Fluid behind the ear drum can make motion sickness even worse.
There are a few things you can do for motion sickness without medication. Before the travel drink some ginger ale or chew on some ginger gummies. Try to lie down if possible and keep loud noises to minimum and may be little distraction with soothing music may help. Also avoiding heavy meals, alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
Firstly how old is your son?? I would suggest that you don't feed him before a trip.
Motion sickness is created by multi-directional pull to the sensory hair in the labyrinthine channels in the inner ear. It is very difficult to control head movement while driving, especially a child under 7 years. Medications are helpful, but non-medicinal techniques such as allowing an older child to sit "up front" while having the windows open might help.
It depends on the age of the child, but doing things such as having them
watch the horizon in front of the car, putting them as close to the front
as possible, not eating large meals prior to travel, and not letting them
read or watch videos on their lap all helps prevent the problem. You can
also purchase sea bands to put on their wrists, try ginger suckers, and see
if they would be willing to close his eyes and sleep/rest. If all else
fails, medications such as odansetron, meclizine, and dimenhydrinate work
There are many great options. Check out this article with some great info:

Also try any of these products:

Need more help feel free to ask me.

Richard Aballay MD