How to Avoid Car Sickness

As you head out on the road this summer, one thing you may forget to prepare for is car sickness prevention, as this condition can be a concern in both children and adults. In order to help make your vacation an enjoyable one for both you and your family, it’s important to be aware of this form of motion sickness so you can take the appropriate preventative measures.

What Is Motion Sickness?

Motion sickness, commonly referred to as car sickness, is connected to your inner ears, which contains a delicate mechanism that senses your head's position. This mechanism helps to give you balance and allows your eyes to adjust to your head’s movement.

Your inner ears give your eyes a warning a fraction of a second before your head moves, causing your eyes to adjust accordingly so that the image your eyes see stays focused.

But car sickness isn't really about being in the car. When you're moving under your own power, your inner ears are well-suited to make the proper adjustments. But all that changes when you ride cars, boats, planes or an amusement park ride. When you're moving, your eyes are creating one set of sensory clues while your inner ears and body are creating another. These conflicting reports confuse your central nervous system, and the result is motion sickness.

Here are some tips to help avoid motion sickness:

  • Don't read in a moving vehicle.
  • Don't sit facing backward in a moving vehicle. Sometimes, driving a vehicle instead of riding as a passenger can help.
  • Look at the horizon or shut your eyes. Give children sunglasses to wear to reduce visual stimulation.
  • Avoid strong odors and spicy or greasy foods before and during traveling.
  • Sometimes adding distractions with aromatherapy, such as lavender or mint, will help.
  • Ginger-flavored lozenges can help to calm your stomach.
  • Over-the-counter medications are available to reduce motion sickness. Drinking caffeinated beverages with medication may also help.
  • Eat a light meal or snack before and during travel.
  • Sit in the area of a moving vehicle that has the least motion.
  • Encourage children to sleep during travel.

By simply taking these easy steps and a few others, you can help prevent an unpleasant situation from occurring down the road.