Dealing with car sickness in kids can be SO difficult. But you can be more prepared by putting together a car sick kit for kids. Learn everything you need to include in your travel sickness kids (and a few more tips for helping to prevent car sickness in toddler and beyond!) in this helpful post from a mom with two motion sickness prone kids.
Some things in life are just hard. Like distance learning. Or remembering all the ingredients you need from the grocery store. Or trying not to lose your cool when your kids request the same episode of Paw Patrol for the 86th time.
But almost nothing about motherhood has been as difficult (and as outright icky!) as dealing with car sickness in kids.
I live about 600 miles away from my parents, which is about 200 miles from the airport. Which means it just makes sense to drive rather than fly. But that is MUCH easier said than done when you’ve got two kids who are prone to motion sickness.
At first, their travel sickness would stop us in our tracks. The first few times were a total mess, leaving us with a not-so-clean car and a six hour drive ahead of us.
But over the years, we’ve wised up and figured out exactly what we need to do in order to not only prevent motion sickness in our kids, but deal with the aftermath in case their tummies get too upset when traveling.
And lucky for you, you can benefit from our trial and error while we developed our own car sick kit for kids. We’ve got all the tools you need to get cleaned up and back on the road (without adding tons of time to your trip in the process!)
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How to Prevent Motion Sickness in Kids
We’ve got good news, and we’ve got bad news on this front. The good news is that we’ve got LOTS of tricks on our sleep to help prevent motion sickness in our kids. The bad news is that sometimes, even with all that prevention, they still get motion sick sometimes.
But never fear- here are some things experts recommend that you try to help deal with car sickness in kids:
- Kids’ Dramamine can be a lifesaver. Check with your doctor to see if it’s safe for you children. If they give you the okay, make sure to give your kiddos the Dramamine before you start driving. It might still work after you’ve started your road trip, but it could prove to be less effective (and we don’t want that).
- Pressure Bands sometimes work for children. They are a non-medical intervention that puts pressure just inside the wrists, and will help remove motion sickness in some people.
- Crank up the air! Point the vents at your kiddos and blast the AC, or crack a window. Fresh air can help to alleviate some of the symptoms of travel sickness for kids.
- Prop your child’s feet up on something. Maybe their suitcase, or a small ice chest. Either way, keeping their feet from dangling down sometimes helps kids to feel better in the car.
- Avoid reading, movies, or fine motor activities in the car. Some kids do fine with these activities, but some do not. It’s one of those things you might have to learn the hard way.
- Try to plan as much of your travel during sleep times as possible. For us, we leave right after lunch, meaning the kids are more inclined to take a nap. They generally fall asleep around 7:30 or 8, so we can finish the drive while they sleep.
- Pack light, salty snacks like saltines (we also swear by sunflower seeds for older children!) Something about the salt can help with light nausea, or even just take your child’s mind off of their tummy troubles.
How to Make a Car Sick Kit for Kids
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, our kids get sick in the car. For us, some road trips my son will just get sick once. Others, it’s like 8 times in a row. Which is a complete disaster, obviously. But less so now that I’ve made up a travel sickness kit, which comes in the car with us at all times.
First, you’ll want to grab a large bag to store everything. It can be a simple tote or a reusable shopping bag, but I prefer to use a really big plastic bag. I like that it feels disposable, because if it ever gets messy I won’t have to think twice about chucking it out.
Next up, you’ll gather the supplies for your car sickness kit. Through trial and error, here’s what we recommend you pack in it:
A Change (or Two!) of Clothes
We always keep a full change of clothes in our travel sick kit, stored inside a quart sized Ziploc bag. If he gets sick on shorter trips, we know we’ll have something for him to wear if he soils his clothes.
If you’re taking a longer trip, or won’t have access to laundry on the other side (ie you’re staying in a hotel) you might want to pack more than a single change of clothes. If my son gets sick more than once, we usually just raid his suitcase, since we’ll have the option to wash his clothes once we make it to my mom’s house.
Wet wipes are the simplest way to clean your kiddo up after a car sickness incident. Swipe their mouths, hands, and anything else that got messy. When you’re done, toss them in a sandwich size Ziploc and seal it up in case you’re not near a gas station or rest stop.
Water bottles will serve a dual purpose in your travel sickness kit. Not only is it nice to be able to rinse your child’s mouth out, but many car seat straps can only be cleaned with water and a towel.
This will give you a way to rinse the straps of your car seat clean, dry with paper towels (see below), and get back on the road without affecting the long term safety of your car seat.
In case your child’s…um…incident requires heavy clean up, you’ll be grateful you had paper towels available to help get your kid (and your car!) back in travel shape.
Fabric Clean and/or Febreze
First of all, if you ever need to use this item from your kit…I’m so sorry. That must have been a doozy.
But you’d MUCH rather have cleaners available and not need them, than need them and not have them. And if your child gets sick in the first hour of a 9 hour trip (which has happened to us MANY a time), you’ll be glad you have a way to clean up and reduce odor before climbing back into the car for a long day on the road.
We recommend getting a travel size bottle of fabric cleaner, and this travel size bottle of Febreze. Never use either on your car seat without first checking the manual, but feel free to use liberally on all other upholstery (note: you might want to spot check for color fastness ahead of time). Your nose may thank you later!
Buy Vomit Bags for the Car
We used to have this complex system that involved Solo cups, until my nurse friend Daniella was like, “Why don’t you just buy emesis bags like they use in the hospital?”
Once I recovered from my embarrassment at not having thought of that myself, I headed to Amazon where I found that emesis bags (aka vomit bags) were not only cheap, but available with two day delivery.
Now we ALWAYS have emesis bags in our car sick kit. Pack a few more than you think you’ll need- it’s another one of those “you’d rather have it and not need it” kind of situations.
Include Twist Ties!
If your emesis bags did not come with some sort of closure system (mine didn’t) you’ll want to toss some twist ties into your travel sickness kit. I stole mine from my bathroom trash bag box, but you can also buy some here.
It’s a handier way to seal up the mess, but we also recommend putting the whole emesis bag into a Ziploc and sealing it up.
Add Ziploc Bags to Your Travel Sickness Kit. LOTS.
In case you haven’t noticed by now, Ziplocs are pretty crucial to the success of the car sick kit. Kids’ don’t always get motion sickness at convenient times, like near a gas station, and you might find yourself dealing with a proper mess on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.
Grab various sizes of Ziploc bags– sandwich, quart, and gallon– and pack several of each size in your travel sickness kit. We hate single use plastic as much as the next guy, but this is not the time to worry about that.
Trust us on this one- you’ll be VERY glad you have them.
So if you’re trying to figure out how to deal with car sickness in kids- well, we are so sorry. But know that you are not alone! We are right there with you, and now that you have your car sickness kit for kids all ready to go, we hope things will get a little easier for you from here on out.
Any tips you’d like to add? Help a fellow mama out and tell us all about them in the comment section!
Looking for more travel tips from two mamas who have done just about every kind of travel there is with our kiddos? Head here next-