Car Sick Toddler

At any age, I can’t imagine enjoying car sickness. But for a little girl who can’t communicate yet how she feels, our hearts go out to her.

Iza has never been a great traveler. She is so full of energy and it is hard to contain it all. When she was little and we had a carseat, there was an element of containment but she still cried the whole way wherever we were traveling to. She just hated the car. Now that we live in Guatemala and we don’t have a carseat, we have a hard time containing her. I too am regularly carsick which gives me compassion, but also makes it very difficult for me to help her when we are on the road.

While our shuttle or plane is in motion, she is in non-stop motion as if she were at home. It can not only be quite easy for her to just fall off the bench seat or hit her head on another seat, but she also causes major distraction for the driver. To get her to calm down, this typically leads to us handing over her iPad so she can play a game or watch Baby Einstein. But then she asks for food and with her already fixated with her head down it eventually that leads to her throwing up. It has become a cycle.

The worst part is this is impairing us to take her on adventures – thing like the zoo or traveling to the beach, going home, etc. We just simply don’t want her to have a bad day so we eliminate travel from every activity we do. Obviously this is not a long term solution since we are a family on the move.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Find a way to bring the iPad up to eye level with a holder behind the chair. This poses a bit of a challenge in a van because it has bench seats without the headrests. We could probably rig something.
  2. Distract from food by bringing along unrelated toys and not having any food available. Focus on water. She loves stickers so maybe window clings or something that get her to look out the window.
  3. Try to get her to sleep as soon as we leave. Give her cherry juice infused with mint to calm down her tummy.
  4. Stop every half an hour and let her run around for 10 minutes. It will take forever to get anywhere, but it will ground her again.
  5. Never go anywhere without Claudia. She is so good with Iza!

We know the logical thing to do would be to get a carseat and just let her wail. The problem is that it doesn’t negate her frustration (it actually causes it to be more), it bothers our driver and then we have to deal with the carseat as another piece of luggage wherever we go. (For the record we are aware of the safety recommendations and we agree with having a carseat).

The balance with traveling for us is to give her a little of what she might want, with a logical and practical need.