Monday, March 5, 2012

Traveling with a Carsick Child

We found out early on that our child experiences motion sickness.  This was not an enjoyable lesson, and causes many nightmares whenever I think of it.  We were able to get this under control, and I’ll tell you how to make yourself and your child prepared ahead of time.

We reside in the DFW area, but my family still lives in San Antonio.  We get down there as much as we can, but that entails a 5 (if traffic is really bad 6) hour drive.  We have flown down several times, but we run into the same issue even though the flight is only 45 minutes.

So early on, our pediatrician recommended a certain over-the-counter motion sickness medication.  Luckily, they come in a chewable form.  Unluckily, they taste pretty awful, so we had a ritual prior to leaving for our trips.  We needed some juice, and most importantly, to mentally prepare our child to chew this awful medicine that we affectionately nicknamed, “the orange medicine.”  The juice, if you had not figured this out, is to combat the taste.  So here we go, 30 minutes before we are set to leave, “take your medicine,” “have you chewed up the orange medicine yet?”, “we can’t leave until you take your medicine.”  So this goes on and on until FINALLY he takes it.  And imagine this with as much gagging and dry heaving as the actual motion sickness itself.  But nonetheless, he has taken the medicine!

So now for the drive – in our cars, I have fashioned what we call in our family, “Yack Sacks.”  This includes a large Ziploc bag with multiple plastic grocery store bags neatly folded inside of it.  The key here is to fold the plastic grocery bags separately so you can quickly yank one out of there when the time arises.  The large Ziploc bag serves as a smell barrier when you haven’t quite pulled off the road yet to find a garbage can to throw away the offending item.  When you are packing your plastic grocery bags, the most important thing to remember is to look for holes at the bottom of the bag.  A lot of these bags get teeny tiny little holes in them on their way home from the grocery store, and these smell, I mean, spell disaster.  I always double up on the bags just in case.

The great thing is that this orange medicine helps my child sleep for most of the trip, so for a while, we thought he had grown out of this phase.  We tested this with not that great of a result.  Another challenge we have overcome is now my son is old enough to take the tablets.  No begging and pleading to chew that awful pill any longer.  I have no idea how long his motion sickness will stick with him, or if he will ever grow out of it.  But if our recent journey out to fish in open water on a large boat was any sign, we are far away from that.

Does your child get carsick? If so, what works well for you? 

Janet Fragle works in customer engagement for innovative technology solutions at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano.

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