Is your child often asking “Have we arrived?”, “When do we arrive?”, complaining of headaches, abdominal pain or you need to be all the time equipped with plastic bags in case he vomits?
Then you are surely terrified at the thought about long-distance car vacation.
Motion sickness is very unpleasant, and when children are affected, the problem is even worse.
Why do we feel motion sickness?
Motion sickness, sometimes referred to as sea sickness or car sickness, is a very common disturbance of the inner ear that is caused by repeated motion. The symptoms of motion sickness arise from the inner ear (labyrinth) due to changes in a person’s sense of balance and equilibrium.
One gets motion sickness when one part of the balance-sensing system (the inner ear , eyes, and sensory nerves) senses that the body is moving, but the other parts don’t. For example, if you are in the cabin of a moving ship, your inner ear may sense the motion of waves, but your eyes don’t see any movement. This conflict between the senses causes motion sickness. Symptoms of motion sickness are: nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, sweating, and a sense of feeling unwell.
In children, balance receptors are fully formed in the second year of life; at this time they can feel motion sickness just like adults.
Prompt acceleration and deceleration in a space where nothing moves from inside can cause motion sickness too.
Tips for avoiding motion sickness:
- Watch your child’s consumption of foods and drinks before and during travel. Avoid excessive foods or liquids that “do not agree with him” or make him feel unusually full. Heavy, spicy, or fat-rich foods may worsen motion sickness in some people. Avoiding strong food odors may also help prevent nausea.
- Place the child on the car seat or directly on the bench, if his age allows it, with the head as straight as possible. Such a posture is favourable for the stomach, but also for the eyes, which will be able to better focus on the view outside the car.
- Teach the child to look to the things outside, instead of focusing on objects within a short distance of him (such as magazines, books or various gadgets). You can tell him to count the trees on the roadside or the cars running in the opposite direction.
- Stop the car as many times as needed and let the little one to get outside and make a few steps. Even if this means you will arrive later, it is important to have a pleasant trip.
- Travel at night, because in this period the balance receptors in the inner ear are less sensitive to external stimuli.
If, despite all the preventive measures tested, the child still has motion sickness at every journey, the problem can be solved by treatment.
How to treat/prevent motion sickness
Generally, medication for motion sickness ranges from different drugs to controversial “remedies” that, unfortunately, treat only the symptoms of motion sickness, not the cause.
Moreover, many drugs have side effects, which are extremely undesirable, especially in babies, young children or pregnant women.
Therefore, starting from the desire to treat the cause and not just the symptoms, a software was created. It comprises some exercises intended to balance the visual perception and movement sensors from the inner ear.
The exercises will allow the brain to synchronize the information received from the eye with those from the inner ear.
The software looks like a computer game, which makes it a child friendly and effective treatment method.
By means of these exercises, the conflicting signals transmitted to the brain by the two sense systems will be removed, and the motion sickness will disappear.
So, after a few game therapy sessions, you will notice that the symptoms of motion sickness will diminish in intensity and then completely disappear.
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Until then, we wish you nice trips!