Guest Post by Keren Simanova
Getting your child in the car can be a challenging task. You need to make sure that there is entertainment, safety, and comfort for a smooth ride. Another challenging element is the burden of baby motion sickness.
Unfortunately, many children experience it.
Why Do Children Get Car Sick?
The Mayo Clinic explains that motion sickness happens when the brain receives conflicting information from the other receptors, such as the ears, eyes, and nerves. Because a child is normally seated lower than the average adult would sit in a car, it is likely that the child’s eye level falls below the window. The inner ear will sense motion, but the body and eyes will not.
This disconnect of senses can cause an upset stomach, cold sweats, fatigue, and vomiting. Motion sickness in babies can happen quickly and unexpectedly, causing major discomfort during the duration of the car ride. It can be difficult to know what to do as a parent who is also behind the wheel.
There is no specific reason as to why certain children are more impacted by motion sickness, while others might not ever experience it. However, there are plenty of preventative measures that you can take.
The key to avoiding motion sickness is to make sure that there is as little sensory overload as possible.
What Can Be Done to Avoid Car Sickness?
The following are some ways that will help your child during car rides:
- Encourage your child to look out the window if your child is old enough. If possible, avoid reading books or looking at screens in the car. These moving images while being inside of a moving vehicle can often cause sensory overload.
- Avoid large meals before car rides. This one is self-explanatory. The less food in your child’s stomach, the less reason that it will become upset. Also, steer clear from foods that are too greasy or spicy.
- Keep the cool air flowing. Having the air conditioner on can help level your child’s body temperature during car rides. Try not to use any harsh scents, like car air fresheners, because this can often trigger motion sickness.
- Give your child ginger ale or ginger candy if your child is old enough. Ginger is a great anti-nausea food, and if your child starts to feel sick, it can be powerful enough to reverse those effects. It is wise to keep some of the candy in the car just in case of a flare-up.
Does the Car Seat Matter?
Your child’s car seat actually has a lot to do with potential motion sickness. As mentioned, a child often cannot see outside of the window during a car ride. From this point of view, it is easy to trigger that overwhelming receptor feeling.
Having your child sit in a higher car seat can level out the horizon. If you find that the car seat you are currently using is too low, this is one primary thing that you might want to consider when you purchase a new one.
Will Sitting Backward Trigger Motion Sickness?
It is recommended that your child should sit in a rear-facing car seat until the age of 4-years-old, if possible, or until the seat is outgrown. A child needs to ride rear-facing until at least 2-years-old, according to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics). This ensures that your child has maximum support of the head, neck, and spine.
This recommendation has been refined in 2018, after additional studies on the topic. With this safety precaution in place, many parents are left wondering, “Will my child have an increased risk of motion sickness by riding backward in the car?”
The answer is no, the way that your child faces does not have any impact on the risk of motion sickness.
Only the triggers that were mentioned previously have a direct impact on the level of motion sickness that is experienced. If you are able to get a taller rear-facing car seat, this will solve the problem the same way that a standard car seat would.
What Are the Best Car Seats for Children?
If you are convinced that your child could benefit from a car seat upgrade, take a look at the following options that are among some of the best car seats on the market for dealing with motion sickness:
Our Top Pick for Infant Car Seats: Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat
- This model is the #1 rated car seat in America. It is appropriate for the car and for use with a Chicco stroller. This convertible aspect makes it a convenient model to choose from.
- It contains built-in level indicators to ensure that you are setting it up properly in the vehicle. This is a helpful feature because you will always be sure that you are doing it correctly. Chicco is known for its ease of installation.
- The 5-point harness allows your baby to ride comfortably in any position, with removable padding for newborn babies.
- Because of the SuperCinch LATCH, the car seat stays firmly in place, eliminating extra movement that could trigger motion sickness.
- This car seat is only going to accommodate children up to 30lbs, so make sure that you have an alternative option for when your child grows out of this car seat.
Our Top Pick for Convertible Car Seats: Graco 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
- This is a car seat that will grow with your child — It goes from car seat to booster seat. During the first few years of growth, it is likely that you would normally have to buy several car seats to accommodate this.
- With this Graco model, there are 10 different positions for you to move the headrest. You can easily adjust the height of the car seat as your child gets older.
- The car seat is made from a reinforced steel frame, making it sturdy and durable. With its latch system, the seat is going to stay in place, providing your child with the safest seat in the car.
- Because of the 6 different recline options, your child will always have a level view of the horizon, no matter how fast they grow. This will reduce the risk of triggering motion sickness.
- Keep in mind that this car seat can be a bit challenging to clean because the covers are hard to remove.
The Importance of Understanding Motion Sickness
Taking a look at the way that your child sits in your current car seat can give you an idea of whether or not it’s time for an upgrade.
Even if your child hasn’t outgrown the seat entirely, upgrading to a new one could be a smart decision. With the way that modern car seats are easily adjustable, your child will be more comfortable while giving parents peace of mind.
By researching what triggers motion sickness, you will be able to keep your little one safe and happy in the car.
While using a combination of the appropriate car seat and visual regulation, you should know everything that you need to know in order to avoid this dizzying sensation. Not only will your child be more at ease, but so will you as the driver.
About the Author
Keren Simanova is a busy mommy by day and a passionate writer by night. She resides in New Jersey with her husband and three daughters. While spending countless hours researching car seats for her children, she created an
educational car seat blog, CarSeatsMom.com to educate other mothers about the importance of car seats. Further, along the way, the blog became an invaluable source for research of a variety of car seat brands, unique features, and mommies’ reviews.