Why Do Children Get Motion Sickness in the Car?

With six children, we have had our fair share of kids that get car sick (myself included).  If you understand why children and adults get car sick it may help to prevent it.  Car sickness results when the brain receives conflicting information from the inner ears, the tactile system, the eyes and your internal expectations.  The best example of this is when someone reads in the car.  You look down at the words in the book and your eyes are fixed on a stable object.  Your inner ear senses motion.   Your joints may sense motion if you go over bumps and around curves.  This confusion in information to the brain may result in feeling nausea, cold sweats or even vomiting.  

Of course not all people get car sick.  It is very rare for infants or toddlers under the age of 2 to get motion sickness.  Women are more prone to motion sickness than men.  From my own personal experience, when I was pregnant I would get motion sickness very easily,  In addition, the older I get the worse it is.  I get nauseous just from riding on a swing!

So since the car sickness comes from confusing information being sent to the brain the easiest thing to do is to try to send clear signals to the brain that you are moving.  Therefore, keep your eye gaze out the window.  This tells your eyes that you are moving which matches your inner ear information.  Roll down the windows and let the body know that you are moving by feeling the wind.  If the car sickness persists, pull over where you can safely walk around, and let the child get out of the car.

To prevent children from getting car sick eat plain foods before and during the ride. 

We are planning a long car ride for next week so I plan on doing a quick blogpost series on games to play in the car.  With all the tablets, video players and smart phone use, some good old fashioned games while looking out the window will help pass the time and prevent motion sickness. 

Do you have any tips to offer to prevent motion sickness in the car?  

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