Summer vacation usually means packing up the car and heading out on the open road. But for many families, particularly those with children, car sickness makes riding in a car for hours on end no fun at all! So, what causes it? And what, if anything, can you do about it?
Car sickness is when someone gets dizzy and/or nauseated while riding in the car. You can also get ‘motion’ sickness from boats, trains, airplanes, even amusement park rides - but for now we’ll stick with cars.
Motion sickness is basically the result of a conflict between the eye and the ear. The inner ear detects that the car is moving, but the eye - focused on the inside of the car - doesn’t. The brain gets confused by these conflicting signals and the result is nausea. It can start with a stomach ache and a feeling of queasiness, then progress to sweating, vomiting and in rare cases panic and confusion. ¹
It’s surprising just how many people suffer from car sickness. Adults, children and pets can all experience it. However, according to Health Canada, by far the largest group is children between the ages of three and twelve. In fact, it affects a whopping 58% of children! ²
The road to prevention
Because, no one wants to stay home all summer, here are a few ways of preventing car sickness.
And remember, if someone in the car does feel nauseous, it’s best to pull over in a safe location. And, don’t forget to bring a plastic bag - just in case!
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