Car sickness is a type of motion sickness. Motion sickness occurs when the brain receives conflicting information from the inner ears, eyes, and nerves in the joints and muscles.
Imagine a young child sitting low in the back seat of a car without being able to see out the window — or an older child reading a book in the car. The child's inner ear will sense motion, but his or her eyes and body won't. The result might be an upset stomach, cold sweat, fatigue, loss of appetite or vomiting.
It's not clear why car sickness affects some children more than others. While the problem doesn't seem to affect most infants and toddlers, children ages 2 to 12 are particularly susceptible.
To prevent car sickness in children, you might try the following strategies:
If your child starts to develop car sickness, stop the car as soon as possible and let your child get out and walk around or lie on his or her back for a few minutes with closed eyes. Placing a cool cloth on your child's forehead also might help.
If these tips don't help or if your child's car sickness makes travel difficult, talk to your child's doctor about other options.
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