From Our Blog: Toddler Car Sickness: How Do You Prevent It?


We’ve spent a decent amount of time on the road with Kayla. We started at three months with our first family road trip to my in-laws, which took about 4-5 hours. We certainly learned a lot from that trip, and we’ve become more strategic about what to bring for the car ride, when to leave, and what situations warrant a pit stop! Aside from the usual navigation around nap and meal times or toddler restlessness, we haven’t really encountered any other issues, until recently…

I signed us up for swim lessons despite the Tales from Baby Swim Lessons. We’re on the waitlist for weekend classes, but after putting lessons off for a year now, we bit the bullet and signed up for a weeknight class. Class number one was a success—no tears! That’s all I hoped for. By the end of the 30 minute class, Kayla finally looked a little more comfortable in the water with her dad.

I expected her to get used to the water a lot faster in class number two, but that just didn’t happen. We were running a little late and rushed there, and she ended up with tears through most of the class. We decided to take her out for her favorite food at a local restaurant on the way home. She was understandably still a little upset when we got there and wanted snuggles, but I was not prepared for what happened next.

We stood at the front of the restaurant when she vomited all over me. My first instinct told me to hold her tighter, surrounding her to keep the mess from getting everywhere at the front of the restaurant. Needless to say, we ordered take out instead of dining in, and headed home with a very unhappy toddler. She was fine by the time we got home though, and was happy enough to eat her favorite noodle dish!

I realized there was a terrible combination of factors that lead to the not-so-pleasant series of events that evening. Not wanting her to go hungry through her class that ran during dinner time, I let Kayla get a little too ambitious with her snacks before class. We ran late and ended up in stop-and-go rush hour traffic on some pretty bumpy New England roads. Then to top it all off was the class itself. Imagine feeling car sick and getting passed back and forth, going this way and that in the pool—no wonder she was in tears! Lesson learned! We took it easy on the snacks and left more time to avoid some traffic, and she LOVED her third swim class.

I had a similar occurrence recently though, when plans changed at the last minute and I had to meet family for dinner after work with Kayla. I knew what was going on when she went from singing every song she knows to silence aside from whines for mommy and daddy. We took it easy when we got to our destination, taking a seat with some water before we even thought about dinner. In about 20 minutes, she was back to herself and eager to eat!

Now that car sickness seems to be part of our reality, I’m not quite sure what’s next aside from just awareness and taking a break when we see the signs that Kayla’s feeling car sick. Does your child get car sick? What tips (aside from medications) do you have to handle it when you’re constantly in the car?

I’m a first-time mom, employee of Bright Horizons and a foodie who loves to cook, travel, and laugh. In my free time, I like to pretend I know how to use my DSLR like a pro and do basically all things creative (major DIY-er here). I’m excited to share some of the ups-and-downs of parenthood as my husband, daughter, two dogs and I explore life as a family of five!

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