My kids got car sick a lot when they were little. Fortunately, they have grown out of it! However, there were many years of the kids throwing up in the car or at stops along our trips. Everything from throwing up all over the car or myself to managing car sickness at rest stops.
Here are some tips from what we have learned over the years!
1. Prepare for sickness!
There were times we found ourselves unprepared. For example, the time that I offered up my sweatshirt for my daughter to throw up in. After that, we made sure we always had something for them to throw up in, like bags, large cups, or emesis bags. For a while, we used a giant disposable cup, but later discovered emesis bags, which you can just keep in a ziploc bag.
You can actually buy emesis bags on Amazon (yes, just like the kind they have at the ER! Learned this one from an ER nurse!).
2. Limit screentime / reading / etc. and make pit stops
Younger kids may have difficulty limiting to things, and realizing they need to look out the window to avoid sickness. We had to enforce breaks!
You may also want to take regular stops so that everyone can get some fresh air and walk around. We like to try to stop at parks along the way to stretch our legs and get fresh air.
3. Provide activities that allow your child to look out the window
Instead of your child looking at a toy or iPad, find alternatives. These could be listening to music or audiobooks, or playing road trip BINGO where you look for things along the ride. There are also games you can play, like 20 questions. You can find plenty of game ideas online, from listing the states for each letter of the alphabet to word games. You may want to find a nice pair of headphones to help with this, especially if you have more than one child (and kids tend to argue over music, etc). You can also coordinate things like doing Mad-Libs in the car.
4. Have appropriate snacks and avoid stomach issues
Sometimes, food-related issues can contribute to car sickness (not just looking out the window).
For example, you may want to reduce dairy intake on a hot day. If you stop to eat, avoid overeating or consuming too much junk food. You also want to make sure your child isn’t overly hungry, which can contribute to nausea as well.
Keep mints and chewing gum in the car, as well as other calming foods like crackers, especially if your child does vomit and wants something to refresh their mouth.
5. Take immediate action
If your child starts to feel sick, take immediate action. Try to stop somewhere and have them get out of the car. If you can’t, get the windows down, have them take deep breaths, and look outside the window.