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How Common Is Motion Sickness in Children?

Motion sickness is what happens when one’s brain gets conflicting signals from various parts of the body making the person feel nauseated, dizzy, tired, have headaches, vomit, feel drowsy, break into cold sweats etc. Say for example, your child is reading while in a car. The body is sending out mixed signals where in the joints and eyes send messages of being stationary while the inner ear and other parts of the body send messages of being in motion. These mixed signals cause the body to show the before mentioned signals and make the person feel sick.

Motion sickness can be caused by travelling of every kind, be it in a car, train, Aeroplan, bus, boats etc. Children tend to be more prone to motion sickness when they are younger and can manage it better as they grow older. In some rare cases children, cannot adapt to such situations and need avoid it all together. About 30% of the population suffers from motion sickness of one kind or another. When it comes to kids dealing with it becomes a lot trickier since they cannot be reasoned with especially when they are not feeling very well.

Here are some tips to help you deal with the situation when your child suffers from motion sickness and how to make your little one feel better.

1.  Over the counter (OTC) medications are available at pharmacies to help with motion sickness. However, in case of children always consult a doctor before administering any kind of medication to children.

2.  If you are going short distances, try travelling during their nap time. Children are less likely to feel motion sickness if they are sleeping.

3.  Ensure that your child has a light meal before travelling. Empty stomach worsens symptoms of motion sickness and can make your child feel nauseated.

4.  Teach your child to focus on one point on the horizon to help minimize the body’s mixed signals and the resulting nausea and other symptoms.

5.  If your child starts feeling sick, take a break and let the child lie down for some time and place a wet cloth on their forehead to make them feel better.

6.  Ensure that you either leave the window open or leave air conditioning blowing in their direction to minimize the mixed signals.

7.  Talk to your child about motion sickness and encourage them to tell you how they feel and when they start feeling any of the symptoms of motion sickness.

8.  Avoid reading during car travel, if at all they must use digital devices make sure they are watching videos.

9.  For younger kids keep them in a reclining position as much as possible to make them more comfortable.

10.  When travelling in a car ensure that they sit in the middle rather than the back where the ride is bumpier.

11.  Similarly, when flying pick seats above the wings of the plane where the ride tends to be less bumpy compared to the back and above the wheels.

Motion sickness is very common in children and can easily be dealt with proper awareness, preparation and precautions.

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