Carsickness Strikes Unexpectedly

Last weekend, the weather was unbearably hot and so we decided to drive to the coast for the afternoon. We had a great time. Livi even slept in the car for a little while and was in a good mood when she woke up.

The way back was, as usual, not so pleasant. Livi hates getting back into her car seat and so she sung her usual song of intolerable parent cruelty. I usually sit in the front, but if she gets too loud, I do sit in the back with her trying to keep her occupied.

This time, however, things were a little different. We decided to take a different route, which winds through the mountains. I get car sick, but since I was sitting up front and since toddlers aren’t supposed to get carsick (according to hearsay soon to be disproved), we didn’t think twice about it.

A few miles into the curvy territory and Livi started to cry. Only it was different from her usual complaining. She sounded miserable. So I made my husband stop the car and and I took the hot seat next to Livi in the rear, keeping her company while desperately trying to ignore my nausea.

I started our calming down dance, which mainly consists of me juggling a mountain of toys and books while singing, grimacing, and comforting her, but nothing worked. Livi didn’t want to be entertained, only to hold my hand. I knew that something was up when she suddenly turned very quiet.

And then it happened. She turned her head, rolled back her pretty eyes, and puked everywhere … into her seat and all over her clothes and hands. Did I mention she was holding on to my hair while it happened?

I am not sure you know how much strength it takes not to join the fireworks. During those short minutes riding in the back, I had gotten seriously nauseous myself. Now I was sitting there, trying not to move and stay calm.

Livi finally started to cry again and my husband was frantically trying to find a spot to pull over. Meanwhile I was busy arguing with my lunch over which direction it should go from here.

My mind started to race, thinking of the best way to clean it all up. After all, we were in the middle of nowhere and we still had to use the car seat to get back home.

Somehow I ended up being the one cleaning it all up (why am I not surprised?), while my husband heroically calmed down Livi. All I could find were her wipes but I figured it was better than nothing. I am not going to lie … I gagged more than once.

In the end, I was able to clean it up well enough (thankfully, the whole seat cover can be tossed into the washer) and then covered the whole seat with all the blankets I could find. It held up pretty well on the ride home and Livi was in a much better mood. I, on the other hand, was sick to my stomach for the rest of the day.

Now I am just wondering about one thing: Livi’s seat is still installed in the rear facing position and we had planned to keep it that way until her second birthday. But what if she keeps getting carsick?

For now, I guess we’ll avoid winding roads, and see what happens.

Do any of your kids get carsick? Do you have suggestions on how to avoid it and/or survival tactics you’d like to share?

Flickr Photo by paulhami

14 comments on “Carsickness Strikes Unexpectedly

  1. Steph says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. My kiddo doesn’t get carsick so I have no suggestions. Hopefully someone else will have some ideas.

    • hnMom says:

      Thank you. Yeah, unfortunately, it seems to run in the family. I didn’t have it that young but we also didn’t have a car when I was her age, so it’s hard to compare.

  2. Nina says:

    I get car sick too. So far my kiddo hasn’t thrown up, but the thought of him being car sick as well has often popped up in my head. He hated the car seat, as in he would cry if we so much as even stopped at a red light. Crying was the norm when it came to cars (which is so confusing since everyone kept saying that driving soothes kids… hmm, not mine!).

    He only improved once he was forward-facing, but I still don’t know if it was motion sickness. For all I know, he just likes seeing things, or doesn’t catch the glare that was often hitting the back of our car.

    • hnMom says:

      Yeah, Livi hates being in tHe car seat, too. She rarely fell asleep as a baby. And we tried more than once because people kept telling us that it would soothe babies. Go figure.
      For now, it only happened that one time on a curvy road, so we’ll see how it goes. Fingers crossed.

  3. Oh my. I got nauseated just reading! My kids get “sea sick” – as they call it, lots. They’re better now that they’re a bit older but we always take water in the car and have them look out the window for the first while of a trip. My 2 yr old never gets car sick, so far, thankfully. Age has helped with this is all I can say. My daughter used to never be able to read in the car but now she can. My son can’t and he’s 9 now. So, I don’t know. Water and snacks, and fresh air as much as possible. I wish I had a magic solution!! Avoid winding roads!!

    • hnMom says:

      Thanks for the tips, those are definitely some great things we can try. I think key is to avoid winding roads. And then we go from there.

  4. Ugh. I get carsick too, and I cannot imagine dealing with puke when already feeling unwell. Poor you! 😦 I hop in the backseat when Bubbs is fussy too, and I find that playing with her and focusing on her makes me feel unwell. Sitting in the front seat and constantly turning around doesn’t help either. For me, it’s all about sitting in the front, or looking out the front window if I’m in the back, and having the car nice and cool.

    I hope it was just a one time thing with Livi. If it becomes an ongoing problem, maybe visit one of those car installation centers and ask them how they feel about turning her forwards.

    Never, ever, go to St. Lucia if you get car sick. The roads are REALLY windy. We took a day trip to see some sights when we were there, so we were going up and down curvy mountainous roads for HOURS. Even the hubs was unwell when we got back to the hotel…

    • hnMom says:

      Thanks for the ideas. I also need to look out the front window do entertaining in the back is pretty tough. But when you run out of options, you do what you gotta do.
      St. Lucia sounds nice, the roads you describe not so much. I’ll keep in mind, thanks. 🙂

  5. Try the accupressure wristbands for motion sickness. I’ve used them and they worked for me. (Just google it, there’s lots.) We took a lot of road trips while I was growing up and I was always the one to get carsick. My mom started giving me a mint before we started out, she said it helped. Things that make it worse are reading in the car and looking out side windows. (The scenery races past so much faster through a side window.) Things that help include the driver making sure to ease very slowly into all stops and starts, and don’t take corners too fast. My kids only ever got carsick when their dad was driving.

    • hnMom says:

      Thanks for the great tips. We’ll try them out as soon as we get a chance.
      It’s kind of funny that your kids only got such when their dad was driving, especially since I’ve heard that from others as well. So maybe I should drive more often then. It’s worth a try. 🙂

  6. I get carsick all the time! In fact, we were only 15 minutes from home (into our 2.5 hour drive) on our way to camp when I had to demand the car stop and jumped out into traffic to vomit.

    That aside…no reading, no side windows, heat is *terrible*, perhaps she would like to ride in just a light tee and underdrawers? Open windows and ice water help me. A little. Those bands also helped when I was a kid, and you may consider children’s Gravol if you know you’ll be in for a long trip.

    Always bring a change of clothes? Best of luck!!!

  7. My guy got car sick All. The. Time. I tried everything. I had to pull his carseat out of the car 2 – 3 times a week to clean it. I held out until he was 22 months and then finally turned his seat around. He is almost 4 and it is very rare now that he gets car sick.
    Luckily my 21 month old does well in the car. Hoping I can keep him rear-facing until he outgrows his seat.
    Good luck!

    • hnMom says:

      Oh no, poor little guy and poor mom who had to clean it all the time. So far, we have been lucky and did not have another incident (fingers crossed). But yeah, if necessary, I would also turn her seat around sooner than 2 years.

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