Motion sickness is the brain’s response to motion. A child who is sensitive to motion can become ill while riding in a car, a plane, a train, or even playing on the swing.
Children age 2 to 12 are the most susceptible to motion sickness, but most children quickly grow out of it.
What happens is the brain is in a state of confusion. The brain receives a message of movement that does not match what the body is sensing. A good example of this is if a child is reading a book while in the car, their eyes are focused on a fixed object. Therefore, the brain thinks that the body is still, but as the body sends the message that it is moving and the confusion results in nausea.
There are medications for motion sickness but none of them are meant for children less than 2 years of age.
If your child suffers from motion sickness there are some things you can do to possibly avoid the nausea.
· If you are on a car ride, take frequent breaks. Get out of the car and let your child walk around. If your child is already showing signs of nausea in the car, try to find a place to stop and have your child lie down with a cool wet towel on her forehead.
· In the car, try to get your child to focus on something in the distance. The brain will receive the correct messages of movement and hopefully prevent motion sickness.
· Keep air on your child, either by rolling down the window or turning on the air conditioning.
· Try to place your child in the centre of the vehicle where there is less of a feeling of movement. If you are travelling on a plane, sit in the area around the wings, and if you are on a train, the forward cars are best. In all cases, situate your child so they can see out the window.
· Sometimes, distraction works. Have your child sing, talk, or play a game that involves things out the window, like the classic “I Spy” game.
· Do not let your child read a book or play with a toy that requires a lot of visual focus such as a puzzle or electronic game.
In spite of your best efforts, your child still may become sick. If so, make sure to replenish her liquids and tell her it’s all going to be alright.