Traveling can be a fun time for a family. Whether you are visiting family elsewhere, or you are just heading off to a favorite picnic spot, these are the times when treasured family memories are made. While it is exciting to see other places, a child may not fully enjoy the ride due to motion sickness.
Motion sickness is common, and it can occur when traveling by cars, plane, train, boats, and even amusement park rides. The body senses motion, through the messages being transmitted, by the different sensing parts of the body. The inner ears, eyes, skin receptors and muscles, all transmit signals to the brain. When one part of the balance-sensing system of the body indicates motion, and the other parts of the body do not seem to sense the movement, it can result to motion sickness.
For instance, a child can get motion sickness if he sits lowly at the back of the car while traveling. Since the child cannot see the road or the things outside, only the inner ear senses the motion, and the eyes and joints do not. When this happens, the brain can activate a response that can make an individual sick.
Children aged 5 to 12 years old, are more susceptible to having motion sickness, which may be due to the increased sensitivity of the brain. Motion sickness can be disturbing, and it may make traveling difficult for children and parents alike. It usually starts with a feeling of queasiness, and cold sweats. It can then progress to dizziness, nausea and vomiting. A young child may manifest symptoms like yawning, crying and restlessness. She may also appear pale, and may lose interest in food, which can then progress to vomiting.
However, there are steps that can be taken so that motion sickness can be avoided. It may be best if you have your child sit at an area where motion is felt least. When traveling by plane, choose a seat near the wings. For trains, choose the front seat next to a window, and try to have your child face forward. When on a boat, choose to stay on the upper deck, or you can also stay in a cabin in the middle of a ship.
Since children frequently get motion sickness by traveling in cars, it may be best that you take frequent short stops. If your child has not eaten for three hours, offer a light snack before traveling. This will ease hunger pangs, which can aggravate symptoms of motion sickness.
Do not allow your child to play games or read books, while inside the car. Instead, have your child look out the window. It is also advisable that you keep the car cool to ease symptoms. If your child still develops motion sickness, stop the car and have your child lie down with eyes closed. You may also place a cool cloth on the forehead to reduce symptoms.
Since most trips are planned, it may be best that you consult your doctor for a medication that your child can safely take. Although these medications can be purchased without prescription, they often have side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth and nose, and blurred vision. Rarely, it may cause reactions like skin rashes, blood pressure changes, nausea, and vomiting. Some children even become agitated instead of feeling drowsy.
Although traveling can be exciting for everyone, it may not be the case for a child with motion sickness. Try to be supportive and provide lots of reassurance. Make the most out of the vacation, and try to make the experience pleasant for everyone. At least the next time you travel, you can already take steps to prevent it, so that it can be truly memorable for everyone.