Prevention of Motion Sickness

Eating in Car Image

Motion sickness occurs in both children and in adults and cannot always be prevented. Here are some tips to help reduce the risk for motion sickness and help minimize symptoms.

Before traveling, eat a light, healthy snack (hunger can increase motion sickness symptoms). Avoid heavy, greasy, or sugary foods. Dress appropriately for the temperature inside the car to prevent the person from becoming cold or overheated. On long trips, make frequent stops

Use an approved car safety seat for children. If the child is over the age of 1 year and weighs more than 20 pounds, the seat should be placed in the back seat, facing forward.

Discourage children and other passengers from looking at books or games, drawing or coloring, and reading while riding in the car and encourage them to look out the windshield or car window. Allowing children over the age of 12 to sit in the front seat of the car can help reduce symptoms of car sickness.

Provide distractions by talking, singing, or listening to the radio. If possible, open the car windows for fresh air.

To help prevent air sickness and sea sickness, keep your head and body as still as possible. Choose a seat where movement is felt less, such as the seat over the wings in an airplane, or the forward or middle cabin or upper deck of a ship. Open air vents on a plane or go to open areas of the boat. Look out the window on an airplane and focus on the horizon on a boat or ship.

Ask a qualified health care provider about using over-the-counter medications (e.g., Dramamine, Bonine) to help prevent motion sickness.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 27 Aug 2008

Last Modified: 25 Sep 2015