Tackle Motion Sickness in Children Using Our 10 Step Guide


What is motion sickness in children?

What causes the car sickness or sickness in vehicles for children while travelling?

What are the precautions you can take to prevent or reduce the intensity of motion sickness in kids?

This is a simple guide to help you make that trip with kids less rocky.

motion sickness in children

Picture this – a lovely family with two adorable kids travelling without a care in the world. That’s how all families travel right? Or at least that’s what all the advertisements say. But in reality only we know that it is not so.

There can be many ‘roadblocks’.

Especially when it’s your precious little munchkin who is affected. Let’s take a look at them and why before we get to the how.

Motion sickness in children:

Motion sickness or kinetosis happens when the brain receives mixed signals during movement.

Consider these three guys- the eyes, the inner ears and the joints. They work for the brain. Whenever you move, these three work together and send their reports to the brain.

All is well as long as their reports are the same. But at times, they end up having fallout. The eye and the joints tell the brain that- there is no movement, while the inner ears sense the motion and gives a totally different report. And all hell breaks loose.

Why my kid?

Some kids are affected more than others by motion sickness.

Why so? It could be because not everyone is designed the same way.

We are all different. It may suddenly pop up after your kid turns two, and then slowly disappear once they are older. And in some cases, it may even decide to stay.

Signs and symptoms of motion sickness in children:

While older kids will be able to tell you if they are feeling queasy, but what about the little ones who are still figuring out how to express themselves? In such cases make sure you keep an eye out for these symptoms.

  • Cold sweat
  • Pallor
  • Drooling or excessive saliva
  • Tummy ache
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness

10 Things you can do to help your child tackle motion sickness:

Fret not, it isn’t so bad. We can make it manageable. All you’ve got to do is, keep these steps in mind.

#1. Do not over feed your baby before a trip

If your child is feeling too full, it might cause him/her to feel queasy. So ensure you give your child an easy to digest meal but just enough to satisfy his/her hunger.

Now keep in mind that, while an overfull tummy can lead to issues, so can a hungry belly. Do not carry oily snacks, crackers are good though. You can refer to the 20 on the go healthy snacks for toddlers and kids.

#2. Distract, distract and distract

It’s just like what your mom has told you, if you feel like you are going to throw up, that is exactly what you shouldn’t be thinking about.

While books and games sound like fun, they not the allies you need.

Remember the conflicting reports? If they concentrate on their books or video game screens, then the eyes feel that the body isn’t moving.

Instead you can encourage them to look out, play some game based on what you see and make a whole bonding session out of it. For the wee little ones, soothing music can help. Place their seat in the middle so that they can see the road.

#3. Plan journey around his/her nap time

If you plan your journey during the child’s nap time, they may sleep through.

#4. No strong odours

Go easy on that perfume. Motion sickness can be like a bomb waiting to go off. A variety of things can trigger it. It could be your perfume or deodorant, smell of food, leather- the list can go on.

For a cousin of mine it was the ambassador car. The particular trigger can be eliminated only through trial and error. But to be safe and generic – avoid anything with a strong smell.

#5. Ensure your kid is not hot

Keep the interiors of the vehicle cool. Make sure the child is wearing something comfortable.

#6. Go easy on the brakes

Avoid any sudden braking and jerks. With our roads that can be a task, but remember our goal is a smooth drive.

#7. Medication

If and only if you feel that your child’s condition is really worse, then there are medicines available. But use them only after you consult a pediatrician.

#8. Be prepared for eventualities

Despite following these, there can be occasional hiccups. To tackle such emergencies ensure you are prepared.

If you notice the symptoms mentioned above,

  • Roll down the windows to ensure the child gets fresh air
  • If that doesn’t help, stop the vehicle. Take a break, so that the child feels better
  • You can place smaller kids on their back and encourage them to close their eyes for a while

Always carry the following with you while travelling.

  • Plastic bag/ container
  • Extra sets of clothes
  • Wet wipes
  • Towel

#9. Pester your mom for her pearls of wisdom

Chances are that, she may have some tried and tested tips that have been passed on to her.

My mom used to carry a lemon with her, so that in case we felt queasy, she would pierce it just a bit and ask us to smell the lemon.

Another thing was water boiled with dried ginger. This ginger flavored water has helped me during my pregnancy days too.

#10. Do not stop travelling

This is the most important step.

Hope this article on motion sickness in children was informative. Do not let motion sickness deter you, this is just a phase and it can be tackled. Till then keep travelling because like Euripides said, “Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves”.

Is motion sickness bothering your child too? If yes, how do you help your child tackle this issue? Do let me know in comments. Kindly share this informative article with your loved ones.


About Author

A stay at home mom for a feisty 19 month old named Ahaana, Chitra Santosh has rekindled her romance with words once again now. Though Arakkonam is her home, she can be seen migrating to Mavelikara, a quaint little town in Alappey during summers. Studies have shown that this has no connection with the migratory patterns of birds.


  1. Hello Chitra,
    I am in love with your style of writing and flow of words. This piece is informative with a dash of grace. Ahh… Good going lady…. Keep it up 🙂 🙂

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