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Motion Sick Toddler Equals No Fun for Anyone

on May 9, 2014

My poor daughter suffers from motion sickness which can get kind of tricky when your in-laws live on the other side of the state!

It was a bit of a slow process to figure out what was going on with our little girl. We were in the car and she started to get fussy. She wasn’t old enough to tell us that she was about to lose her breakfast. Being newer parents, what was about to happen didn’t cross our minds. I double checked her car seat straps to make sure they were not twisted or cutting into her arms (since I was sitting next to her in the back seat). I gave her a few different toys thinking maybe she wanted something different to play with. She had just eaten and had her diaper changed before we had left the house about 30 minutes before, so I didn’t think it could be either of those bothering her. Then it happened… I’ll be nice and spare you the details.

My husband pulled off at the first exit that we came to and stopped at the nearby fast food restaurant. He went inside and got some napkins and a few brown bags that the worker let him have. We were totally unprepared! We did our best trying to clean up the car seat and our poor daughter. At least we had some extra clothes for her since we were going to visit her grandparents. We had to put a reusable shopping bag in the bottom of her car seat so that she would have somewhere dry to sit.

The next time she got sick was in her Johnny jump up. Both times she had gotten sick she had eaten eggs, so we were starting to think that she had an egg intolerance. After a few more times getting sick in the car (and having not had eggs) we finally put together that she was having an issue with motion sickness.

So I went to Google and started searching and asked my friends on Facebook if any of them had had to deal with motion sickness. We talked to our daughter’s doctor who recommended that we try giving her Benadryl. I really didn’t want to have to give her medicine every time we were going to be in the car for a while. Luckily for most of our quicker local trips she is fine… not always, but at least most of the time.


I wanted to share with you what we have found that has worked the best for our family. Just a reminder that I am not a doctor and if you have a child that is having issues with motion sickness please check with your child’s doctor.


1. Try and travel when she is sleeping.


One of the first things that has helped has been timing when we are traveling to match either nap time or bedtime. If she is sleeping while we are traveling she doesn’t get sick as much.


2. Watch when she eats.


We watch what she eats and when she eats if we are going to be in the car. We try to give at least two hours after a meal before we have to be on the road. We also try to avoid the foods that have upset her tummy before in the car. The trick seems to be not to have her tummy be too empty or too full.


3. Ginger Ale!


This discovery has been amazing! It was suggested by one of my Facebook friends. I’m not sure what it is about ginger that helps settle a stomach but this has really worked for us. We normally just let her have milk and water, so the ginger ale is a special road trip treat. She doesn’t need a lot of it for it to help keep her tummy settled. We found a certain type that we like from the store that is all natural so I feel better about giving it to her. My husband and I try to make sure that we always have a few cans on hand and that we take enough on our trip for any smaller trips that she might need it for and for the return trip home.


4. Be careful of what activities are done while in the car.


I have to make sure that my daughter doesn’t watch any movies or read any books while in the car. It is better for her if she looks out the windows.


4. Be prepared.


This is the best tip that I can give you because sometimes the motion sickness just happens even with our best efforts to help control it. I have made a car-sick kit that I carry in my purse all the time.


photo 1                         photo 2


This kit includes a travel size bottle of our favorite cleaner, wipes, and lots of plastic bags. I also keep in the car a waterproof seat pad that can be placed in to the bottom of the car seat so that my little one doesn’t have to sit in the wet seat. I only use this if the seat is really bad since the car seat safety recommendation is that you don’t add any products to the car seat that didn’t come with the seat.  I also carry a change of clothes for her at all times in my bag.

photo 4

For longer road trips I pack a full cleaning bucket. In this bucket I include a bottle of cleaner, lots of rags, and a wet bag for soiled clothes. I also pack lots of extra outfits in my daughter’s suitcase. I hope that as she gets older she will know what is happening and be able to tell me in time to get the bucket to her so that she can use it and we will have less to clean up.


photo 5                             photo 3
Hopefully as our little girl grows, the motion sickness will affect her less.  It is still something that I deal with as an adult so I don’t know that she will outgrow it completely. Being prepared has helped make our travels much better even if we have some messes to clean up along the way.

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