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6-year-old with Motion Sickness


We took our first long road trip with friends at the beginning of the month (we went to NC to see snow). On the long drives, our son would start getting car sick. I thought it was because he was riding in the 3rd row of a 15 passenger van, but when we were back home, he started feeling nauseous in our car if the air was not  blowing directly on him.

My question: we are driving to Pensacola at the end of the week.  Is it safe to give him 1/2 of a Dramamine (or a smaller dose)?  We can't have the air blasting on him for 7 hours.  (My son is 6 years old and around 37 pounds).

I agree that you son suffers from car or motion sickness. Motion sickness is thought to be secondary to a sensory mismatch where the individual feels like they are moving, but their surrounding (the interior of the car) is not. Typical symptoms include : nausea, sweating, vomiting and dizziness.

A few tips:

1.) Let him eat prior to travel and even while traveling.
2.) Place him in a seat that allows him to see out a window. Children over 12 years old can sit in the front seat.
3.) Continue to keep the “air moving” in the van. You may even give him his own fan.
4.) Minimize books and iPad/tablet use during trips.

If these remedies fail then it fine to try medications on long trips. He is old enough for dramamine (dimenhydrinate). Dramamine is over the counter and approved for children 2 and up. Common side effects include sleepiness, dizziness and dry mouth.

Motion Sickness in Children

Motion sickness is a common problem in pediatric medicine. Children, like adults, suffer from car-sickness or become sea-sick while boating. Experts estimate that one-third to two-thirds of people suffer from motion sickness. (... more on Motion Sickness in Children)



Written March 2015 by
Gregory Gordon MD, Orlando Pediatrician






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