Preventing and Curing Travel Sickness

Knowing you’ve got a long journey ahead can often feel a bit terrifying if either you or your tot suffers from travel sickness – especially when you’ll be travelling in enclosed spaces, such as on planes. However, there are solutions that can be really effective!

What should you know about travel sickness?

Travel sickness is caused when your eyes are unable to see what your body is feeling, or vice versa. These conflicting messages confuse the brain, causing you to feel or be physically sick.

Motion sickness most commonly affects children aged 2-12 years old, pregnant women and people who suffer from migraines- so if any of your travelling party fit into these categories, it is worth considering travel sickness remedies before you set out!

It’s generally best to try and stop travel sickness before it starts, as once its begun, it’s difficult to get rid of the feeling until the motion stops completely. Check out our travel sickness tips for the following journeys…

Travel By Plane

  • If you suddenly need to grab a sickness bag on a flight, remember that these only open in one direction– make a note of this before you take off, just in case!
  • Avoid eating greasy or heavy foods before takeoff- choose small portions of simple foods
  • People often think that wandering around the plane will help with travel sickness- it won’t! Stay in your seat to avoid increased motion that could make you feel even worse
  • Try and choose a window seat, so that your eyes have a better chance of understanding the motion that your body feels
  • Try and sit over the wings of the plane, as this is where the centre of gravity is located, meaning less vibrations.
  • Relax and distract! Trying to take your mind off feeling sick will help. You could try listening to some music or if you know your little one suffers from travel sickness, bring along some games and activities

Travel by Boat

  • If you’re booking a boat cabin, choose one that is based on a lower level and near the centre of the ship, as these experience less motion 
  • Head out on to the deck for some fresh air and try to focus on a fixed point, such as the horizon
  • If other people on the ship are seasick then move away from them- hearing or seeing others experiencing motion sickness can actually make you feel ill yourself
  • Try and stay away from the bow or stern of the boat, as these are the areas that experience the most motion
  • Although it may sound a little grim, try and face downwind if you’re out on a blustery deck- if your little one is ill, much better that it gets blown out to sea than the alternative!

Travel by Car

  • Avoid reading or concentrating on anything that is motionless – this will confuse your eyes and make you feel worse!
  • Sit kids with car sickness in the middle of the back seat. Encouraging them to look out of the front window, rather than the sides, can help their eyes adjust to the motion of the journey
  • Sitting in the front seat can also help as the front seat experiences less vibrations than those at the back, and you’ll be able to see what your body is feeling
  •  Taking safety instructions into account, try to elevate car seats for children with car sickness. Often the standard height of these seats means little ones can’t see out of the windows, causing the feeling of nausea. One study even proved that taller children experienced less car sickness than smaller children, so it’s worth taking into consideration!

Motion Sickness Packing Essentials

  • Lollipops or sweets little ones can suck, especially those containing ginger or peppermint

  • A change of clothing for your tots (and possibly you!)

  • A large tub of wet wipes

  • A face cloth (you can run this under cool water) or an icepack 

  •  A large empty Tupperware container with a cover (if your little one is ill several times, you can rinse this out and re-use)

  •  Motion sickness cures (may need to be taken before the journey, check instructions)

  • Specially designed sickness bags that are easy to access in haste

  • A bottle of Febreeze!

Top Travel Sickness Product Picks

Dramamine Motion Sickness Relief

Ask your child (aged 2-12 years) to take one of these chewy grape flavour doses half an hour before you leave. It’s one of the few medicated motion sickness products created especially for children and can do wonders for relieving symptoms such as dizziness or nausea.

Joy Rides

These chewable tablets are suitable for kids aged 3+, and should be taken 30 minutes before you travel. They work by preventing the brain from sending messages to the stomach, which would otherwise cause the feeling of sickness.

PSI Wristbands

Coming in a variety of colourful prints, these adjustable acupressure bands are waterproof and reusable. Applying a slight pressure to the inside of the wrist, these are designed to help relieve nausea, without involving any medication.

Queasy Drops and Pops

Made with natural ingredients designed to help settle poorly tummies, these travel sickness sweets come in a variety of fun flavours such as sour raspberry, ginger, banana, green tea with lemon and cola. You can even get ‘Preggie pops’ designed to help with morning sickness!

Sea Bands

These specially designed bands work really well for kids and come in a variety of 3 fun colours. They are also free of any medicines, so are suitable for younger children, although they must fit snugly in order to work properly.

Anti Motion Sickness Earplug

Coming in both child (2-12 years) and adults varieties, the Lapponio Ltd earplug also counteracts motion sickness without using medication. The plugs even have 18 different tunable settings and a stylish carry case.

Nevasic Audio CD

This is an audio programme that helps to reduce nausea and vomiting through playing sounds, pulses and frequencies that work with the narrated guidance to send signals to the brain through your hearing. Reports say this has been quite effective in a number of cases, so it could be worth a try!

Baby Travel Sickness

You may find that most travel sickness products are only suitable for children aged 2 years old and above. If you suspect that your baby is also experiencing travel sickness then try some behaviour-based techniques such as turning car seats round, keeping them hydrated, pulling down sun blinds etc. Find more info below.

Medical Advice

If you experience severe motion sickness then talk to your doctor- they may be able to prescribe effective medication. Below are some medicines and natural therapies commonly used to treat motion sickness:

Hyoscine/Scopolamine is one of the most commonly used treatments for motion sickness. You can get this over the counter, and have to take the treatment before you start travelling. However, it is worth noting that this treatment can cause side effects such as drowsiness or dizziness, so avoid taking it if you’re planning on driving. Exercise caution when giving to children, the elderly, or if you have other medical conditions such as epilepsy.

Antihistamines can also be used to help control the feeling of sickness. These are less effective than Hyoscine, but cause fewer side effects. You can usually get hold of them in tablet form to be taken 1-2 hours before you set off.

Ginger is a natural cure for sickness. Ginger supplements, crushed fresh ginger or even ginger biscuits/tea can help you feel less queasy, including for those suffering from morning sickness.

Acupressure bands can be worn around the wrist, putting a slight pressure to a point inside your wrist. There are no side effects of using a band, but there is also little scientific evidence to prove that they do work. However, there have been lots of good reviews from users of pressure bands, and many parents swear by them, so they could be worth a try.

Peppermint and Black horehound are also traditional herbal remedies that can be used to alleviate sickness. They come in capsules, powders, teas or liquid extracts.

Dramamine is a great motion sickness-relieving option for kids aged 2+ years and comes in a specific child-friendly variety

NOTE: Children should NOT be given any travel sickness medication which includes hyoscine, meclizine, cyclizine or promethazine.

It’s also a good idea to test any medication you plan to use on your journey beforehand, so you can check that your little one doesn’t experience any side effects.

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