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Ask the Pediatrician

Dr. Jennifer Shu and her team of pediatricians answer your health questions.

Dr. Jennifer Shu

Question & Answer

Question

We are going on a cruise. What can I give my child to treat motion sickness?

Answer

​​By: Kathleen Berchelmann, MD, FAAP

Nothing can spoil a vacation like motion sickness! There are many approaches for treating motion sickness in children (and parents), whether it be on a boat or in a vehicle.  

  • Teach your child to recognize the signs of motion sickness and encourage her to tell you as soon as they start.  
  • Avoid reading or using digital devices.
  • Eat light, healthy, non-greasy meals while traveling.
  • As soon as your child starts to feel sick, have him close his eyes, or find a spot far in the distance tofocus on, rather than looking at things that close by.
  • Deep breathing can bring fast relief to motion sickness. Singing is a great way to get your child to breathe deeply! Try signing a song with her! The humor may help take her mind off the nausea.
  • If the motion sickness persists, have your child lay down and try putting a cool cloth over his head.  

The approaches listed above effectively treat motion sickness in most children. Occasionally, however, a child may need medication if they are very sensitive to motion sickness, or if travel is particularly turbulent. Medications for motion sickness include:

  • Dramamine, also known as Dimenhydrinate, is available over-the-counter in a pediatric dose for children over age 2.
  • Zofran is a prescription medication for severe nausea. Talk to your pediatrician about whether Zofran might be right for your child.  

Additional Information:



About Dr. Berchelmann:

Kathleen Berchelmann, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician at St. Louis Children's Hospital, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine, and an official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Kathleen is the co-founder and director of ChildrensMD.org, a blog written by five dynamic mom-pediatricians who share their true confessions of trying to apply science and medicine to motherhood. Kathleen and her husband are raising five children.​