Don’t let illness tag along on family trips

Planning your summer vacation? Wondering how you’ll survive all that togetherness? Family road trips can be great for bonding and learning, but also frustrating if kids are bored or not feeling well. To help parents plan an enjoyable, educational and healthy trip, the folks at Dayton Children’s Hospital offers some helpful tips and activities.

When your family travels and is away from the usual eating and sleeping routines, the chances increase that someone might get sick.

Motion sickness: “Kids also can be vulnerable to a variety of travel-related problems, especially motion sickness,” says Melissa King, DO, medical director of urgent care and Dr. Mom Squad blogger at Dayton Children’s. “Motion sickness occurs when the inner ears detect movement but the eyes — ocused within a car or other vehicle — do not. These mixed signals coming into the brain can cause nausea, dizziness, vomiting, pallor and cold sweats”

Here are some helpful tips to help kids combat motion sickness:

• Eat a light meal before. Motion sickness seems worse on an empty stomach.

• Avoid eating during travel. For longer trips, sip drinks and eat small meals and snacks.

• Look outside. Kids should focus on still objects, not moving ones.

• Keep the windows open. Allow fresh air to circulate.

• Use a headrest. Minimize head movement.

• Make frequent stops. Visiting rest stops and parks for a short walk may help.

• Ask your doctor. There are medicines to prevent travel sickness.

Pack the essentials: “When you pack, include any medications and other medical supplies you and your family use regularly because they may be hard to find at your destination,” says King. “Don’t forget inhalers, allergy medication and insulin, if needed.”

You also may want to pack:

• A small first-aid kit that includes antiseptic, antibiotic ointment, bandages and other medications your doctor may recommend

• Pain reliever like acetaminophen

• Sunscreen and insect repellent

• Waterless alcohol-based hand rubs for when soap and clean water aren’t available

Research the area: Do some research before your trip to find the hospital or medical care facility closest to your destination, particularly if your child has a chronic health condition. In case of an emergency, carry a written copy of your child’s medical history. This will help you remember important information at a time when you’re likely to be upset.

Think safety: While you’re traveling, it’s important to take the same health and safety precautions as you do at home, and always remember to buckle up your family. “As a reminder, kids should be in a rear-facing seat during infancy until the upper weight limits of a convertible car seat, usually 35 pounds,” says Jessica Saunders, community relations manager at Dayton Children’s and Safe Kids Greater Dayton coordinator. “Then children should ride in a five-point harness forward facing seat until the upper weight limits of the seat — usually around 40 pounds.”

Children are ready to ride in a belt-positioning booster if they are at least 40 pounds and 4 years old until they are 8 years old or 4’9” tall. Children 12 years old and younger should always ride in the back seat.

Before you leave, consider asking your doctor for other information about how to protect your family from illness and injury during travel. Do a little planning in advance to help cut down on the fighting and fussing, and your next road trip will likely be made up of fond family memories — on the road and off.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

The Kid Whisperer: What to do about the child who cries, cries, cries

Dear Kid Whisperer, I’m curious about crying tantrums. We have a strong-willed 6-year old girl who cries about everything lately. She cries over us not buying a toy or what she eats for breakfast. I offer her a hug, tell her I am sad that she is sad and tell her that it’s too loud and we can’t hear each other. I am gentle and loving...
Parenting with Dr. Ramey: What’s dangerous about the Golden Rule

The Golden Rule advising that you should behave towards others as you’d like to be treated seems reasonable — but in fact, represents a dangerous and wrong way of thinking about the world. Lee Ross and his social psychology colleagues have called this blunder in thinking “naive realism.” Avoiding this error will make you a better...
D.L. STEWART: Real men wear short coats because being cold is cool

A letter writer to the chief fashion critic at The New York Times asked a question in last Tuesday’s edition. “My son is in college in Maine,” AMY, PELHAM, N.Y., wrote, “and the temperature is frequently below zero. It seems like every woman is swathed in an ankle-length black puffer coat from November to March. So why do men...
Coupon deals of the week
Coupon deals of the week

Coupon availability and coupon values may vary within different regions or neighborhoods. Irish Spring Body Wash This week at Rite-Aid, Irish Spring body wash is on sale for $3.99. In most of your Rite-Aid ad inserts, you should find a coupon for this product that will drop the price down to $1.99. Also, use the $1 off one Irish Spring body wash manufacturer...
Cat play is a weighty matter
Cat play is a weighty matter

Cats need daily playtime to keep them healthy and happy, according to The organization lists multiple benefits including mental and physical stimulation, energy release, performing preying behaviors and bonding with their humans. This is important because an Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) study shows over 50 percent...
More Stories