Road trips to visit family over the vacations and holidays can upset sensitive tummies and become a dreaded part of family trips. Motion sickness results when the brain receives confusing messages from the senses. For example, when your baby is buried in the backseat, his eyes see only the stationary seat back, but the motion sensors of the inner ear tell the brain the body is moving. The equilibrium center in the inner ear is more sensitive in some babies than others. Try these stomach settlers:
- Plan your route to use straight freeways; avoid going through busy towns. Frequent stops and starts and winding roads upset tiny tummies.
- Travel at naptime. Sleep settles queasy insides. The best time to depart is just before a nap, so you can hope to arrive at your destination with a comfortable and well-rested baby.
- Tank up baby, but not a full tank. Give baby a light meal before departure (non-fatty and nondairy foods–cereal, pasta, fruit), and take along stomach- friendly snacks: cookies, crackers and a cool drink in a carton with a straw.
- Tank up the car beforehand. Babies are sensitive to exhaust and fumes at gas stations.
- Provide a seat with a view – babies get carsick if they can’t see out a window – but don’t compromise safety for a view.
- Play games that keep baby focused on objects far away. Billboards, buildings, and mountains are much more tummy-friendly during travel than close- up coloring books.
- Fresh air is a tummy rumble’s best friend. Open a window on each side of the car for cross ventilation. Leave your air pollutants (cigarette smoke, perfumes) at home.
- Medications for motion sickness are not recommended under a year of age, but they may be used safely thereafter. Check first with your doctor to see if there are medical reasons your child should not to take these. Dramamine is a safe and effective over-the-counter medication to quell the nausea, vomiting, and dizziness associated with motion sickness. The dosage for an infant from one to two years is a half-teaspoon, given a half-hour to an hour before travel; for the child two to three years the dosage is one teaspoon (five milliliters). It should not be given more frequently than every six hours. Seasickness patches (Scopolamine) should not be used on infants.