Top Tips to Reduce Car Sickness in Kids

Top Tips to Reduce Car Sickness in Kids
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When Little J was 5, he would seemingly randomly throw up when we were on car rides.  Not every car ride, just some of them.  We took him to the doctor, where he was diagnosed with motion sickness.

Someone can experience motion sickness when their inner ear and body senses movement, but their eyes don’t. Conflicting signals are sent to the brain and then the symptoms begin.

After trying several different remedies, we finally found a combination of things that worked for him.  Thankfully, he grew out of it for the most part, and now we stay prepared just in case!

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Not all kids are the same, but in Little J, we began to recognize that he’d get really quiet, then see the glassy eyes, and sometimes he’d be a little sweaty.  Then we knew we didn’t have a lot of time before he’d throw up.  A few times he’d complain about his head hurting, but not often.

Top Tips to Reduce Car Sickness in Kids: Need some ideas on how to reduce car sickness? These are good for both kids and adults!


I suggest having the following ready in your car:

  • A large type of plastic sealable container (like Tupperware), or even a bucket! We ended up using a large, cheap Halloween bucket that happened to be handy!
  • Plastic bags (like Ziplocs) or trash bags that can be sealed or tied off, use them to line the container.
  • Or you could buy emesis bags like they have at the hospital. These are nice because you can tie them off.
  • Paper towels
  • Old towel and/or washcloth
  • Baby wipes that are safe for using on the face.  It helps to wipe their face & neck with a cool baby wipe or washcloth.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • A change of clothes for your child.
  • Candies to suck on
  • Air freshener or Febreeze


  • Be sure your child eats a little something before getting on the road, but nothing greasy.
  • Position air vents nearby circulating air on him or her & take deep breaths.
  • Minimize in-car activities where your child looks down, like reading, playing a card game, doing a puzzle or writing/coloring, etc.
  • Encourage you child to look out the front window and put his or her child seat in the middle if possible.
  • Check if your child is congested, as this can aggravate motion sickness.
  • Drive when it’s a normal sleeping time for them, like nap time, or at night or early in the morning if you are making a very long road trip.
  • Stop and let them walk around and breathe in fresh air if they begin to feel ill.


As a reminder, I am not a doctor or medical professional. Please check with your child’s pediatrician before trying any new treatment or medication. Also check for potential allergens in these items.

A combination of things did the trick for Little J. We made sure the AC was blowing on him, and had fed him a snack beforehand. (By the way- if you don’t have rear air conditioning vents, one of my friends got this for her son and they love it! She said it makes a HUGE difference for him riding in the backseat through our horrible Texas summers.)

He wore the children’s Sea Bands, and we covered his window so that he couldn’t look out the side – since we couldn’t move his car seat and he kept looking out the side window.  After all that, we got him focused on watching a 30 minute show on his tablet with his headphones on.

During that time, we didn’t take any trips longer than a few hours, so after a show, he’d be fine for a break of about 15 minutes and then we’d make a pit stop so he could get out and walk, then we’d continue our trip and talk or sing a little while before he watched another show.  By the time that was over, we’d be at our destination.

This won’t work for everyone, but I’d rather he watch Wild Kratts and be spouting out Alaskan salmon facts for the next few days (he loves that movie) than him throwing up everywhere!

Do you have any secrets for dealing with car sick kids or adults?  Share them below!

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