Carsick Toddler

Over 4th of July weekend we decided to take a family vacation. And since we just got back from Chicago…this was more of a vacation from our vacation. We drove out to San Diego…which usually isn’t so bad. It’s about a 5 ½ hour drive. But about 2 hours into the drive my son tells us that he is not feeling good. We pull over many, MANY times to let him use the restroom and to get out and stretch his legs. He says his tummy still doesn’t feel good. And then he says he has to go “caca”. And by the 2nd time pulling over – he doesn’t have to “caca” but he says he does.carsickThe hubby and I put our heads together and try to think…ok what could be making him feel this way.  We start making a list of things he ate, things he drank, how long he slept last night, when he last went to the bathroom. But all of these things were normal. Then I thought…you know what…..there is a small pattern here. This has happened 3x before.

  • 3 hr drive home from Greer – didn’t feel good and eventually threw up all over the car
  • 3 hr drive around Chicago – didn’t feel good and eventually threw up all over the car
  • 5 ½ hr drive to San Diego – isn’t feeling good and now we are scared he might throw up all over the car

I start looking on the internet for motion sickness and car sickness. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had it as most of my family does. So I start looking at the symptoms:

  • Upset stomach – if the child cannot describe this it will show by pale skin, restless, yawning and crying
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Vomiting

The bad thing is my son has quite a few of them. He was complaining his tummy hurts, he was tired but couldn’t get comfortable, yawning, crying, cold sweat, and loss of appetite. And on previous trips – vomit.

I then start looking into solutions :

  • Stop the car often and let the child out to walk around
  • Feed them child a light snack  – like crackers – no greasy foods
  • Fresh Air
  • Smoother driving – if you can avoid it – don’t swerve and less brakes
  • Try to focus their attention elsewhere – play games, dance to songs, have the child talk to you & tell you stories
  • Look straight ahead at the horizon – at more stationary things – like the car in front of you – don’t look at the many passing cars and trees out the side of the window
  • Cool cloth on the forehead
  • Dramamine

Well after trying a few of these things we FINALLY made it to San Diego…a big 7 ½ hours later!!!!! Longest drive EVER!  At first I kept reminding myself. Don’t self-diagnose from what you read on the internet. It could just be an upset stomach. But then we noticed that a lot of these things were helping. And the big “in your face – so it’s probably true” thing was that it started happening every time we were in the car for longer than 30 minutes.

And because we are not the type to jump straight to the medication….we thought about all of the things that we tried on the way there:  Playing games, talking – telling stories, frequent stops and more.  And yes all of these things worked…but it was still a 7 ½ hour drive (that should have only been 5 ½ at the most). So on the way home we decided to give him the Dramamine. We only did a ½ pill….but it worked. He felt yucky the first 15 minutes of the drive and then he fell asleep. THANK GOD! He slept most of the drive. And when he woke up the last 2 hours of the drive…we were able to do all of those little tricks of talking and games to pass the time…and he was fine. No upset tummy and no vomiting! The drive home was an easy 5 ½ hours. Yay!!!!

Im just happy that we figured it out.


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