Motion Sickness in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Motion sickness is nausea that is usually caused by travel in a car, plane, train, or boat. It is sometimes called carsickness, airsickness, or seasickness. Some people also get it if they do things like play video games or look through a microscope.

Motion sickness can make your child vomit or sweat. It can also cause a headache. These symptoms usually go away soon after the motion stops. But sometimes it takes a few days.

You can treat your child's motion sickness with over-the-counter medicine or prescription medicine. You may also try having your child take ginger or wear acupressure wrist bands.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • If possible, have your child press his or her head into a headrest. This keeps the head still.
  • In a plane, try to have your child sit near the wings.
  • If you stay overnight on a boat, have your child try to stay in the middle of the boat.
  • In a car, boat, or plane, try to make sure that your child:
    • Looks at one place far away, such as the horizon.
    • Gets as much fresh air as possible.
    • Does not read or watch TV.
    • Eats a small meal ahead of time.
  • If your child feels sick, try a few crackers and a fizzy drink.
  • Try ginger, ginger tea, or ginger ale before your child travels.
  • Ask your doctor if it's okay to give your child an over-the-counter medicine. These include dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), and meclizine (Bonine). These medicines are taken about an hour before travel. They may make your child feel sleepy.
  • Get a prescription medicine from your doctor. Be safe with medicines. Give your child medicines exactly as prescribed. Be aware that these medicines may make your child sleepy.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has nausea and vomiting that does not go away after treatment.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child's symptoms do not go away within 3 days after a trip.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.