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Motion Sickness in Babies | A Parent’s Guide to Happy Travels

Motion Sickness in Babies

Motion sickness is a familiar sensation that affects both children and adults. In babies, it can be particularly challenging to identify and manage. As a parent, understanding motion sickness in babies is crucial for ensuring a comfortable and pleasant travel experience. This post will give you the information you need to treat motion sickness in babies carefully by looking at the causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatments of the illness.

What is Motion Sickness in Babies?

Motion disorder, also known as travel sickness or kinetosis, occurs when there is a conflict between different sensory inputs related to motion. In babies, this can happen during car rides, plane journeys, or even in strollers or swings. The inner ear, also known as the vestibular system, plays a significant role in keeping balance and spatial orientation. Movement sickness can occur when there is a mismatch between what the inner ear senses and what the eyes see.

Causes of Motion Sickness in Babies

Developing Vestibular System

Babies are still developing their vestibular system, which is responsible for sensing motion and balance. As a result, their ability to handle complex movements and travel-related motion is not fully matured, making them more susceptible to motion sickness.

Sensory Conflicts

Babies might experience sensory conflicts during travel, especially when in a moving vehicle. Their inner ear reasons motion, but their eyes may focus on stationary objects within the car, causing confusion and triggering motion sickness.

Motion Sensitivity

Some babies are more sensitive to motion than others, making them prone to motion sickness even during short rides. Factors such as genetics and individual differences can contribute to this sensitivity.

Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing the signs of motion sickness in babies can help parents address the issue promptly and effectively. The signs may vary from mild discomfort to more severe reactions.

Nausea and Vomiting

One of the most common signs of motion sickness is nausea, which can lead to vomiting in babies. They might become restless and show signs of discomfort.

Dizziness and Fatigue

Babies experiencing motion sickness may appear dizzy or disoriented. They might also become tired quickly, exhibiting signs of fatigue during travel.

Irritability and Crying

Babies who cannot communicate their discomfort verbally may express their unease through irritability and excessive crying.

Factors Affecting Motion Sickness

Several factors can affect the likelihood and intensity of motion sickness in babies.

Age and Developmental Stage

Younger babies with less developed vestibular systems may experience motion sickness more frequently than older children.

Mode of Transportation

The mode of transportation can impact motion sickness. For instance, babies may feel more uneasy during car rides due to the confined space and jerky movements.

Duration of Travel

Longer journeys increase the chances of motion sickness in babies, as their sensory systems are continually exposed to conflicting signals.

Tips for Preventing Motion Sickness

While motion sickness in babies is challenging to eliminate, several preventive measures can reduce its impact.

Proper Seating Arrangement

Ensuring that babies are seated facing forward can minimize sensory conflicts and reduce the likelihood of motion sickness.

Fresh Air and Ventilation

Maintaining a well-ventilated environment can help alleviate discomfort during travel.

Frequent Breaks

Taking breaks during long journeys allows babies’ sensory systems to reset, reducing the risk of motion sickness.

Distraction and Entertainment

Providing engaging toys or activities can help distract babies from the sensations of motion and reduce their focus on discomfort.

Natural Remedies for Motion Sickness

For parents looking for natural remedies, certain herbs and substances can help alleviate motion sickness symptoms.


Ginger has long been understood for its anti-nausea properties. It can be given to babies as ginger-infused water or as ginger snaps (for older babies).


Peppermint is a herb that can soothe the stomach and alleviate nausea. Cut peppermint oil can be applied to the baby’s clothing or a nearby cloth.


The fresh scent of lemon can help reduce feelings of nausea. Simply placing a slice of lemon in the baby’s vicinity can have a calming effect.


Chamomile tea has calming properties and can be offered to babies in small quantities before travel.

Over-the-Counter Medications

In some cases, when natural remedies are insufficient, over-the-counter medications can be considered.

Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)

Dimenhydrinate is an antihistamine commonly used to prevent motion sickness. However, it should only be given to babies under the guidance of a paediatrician.

Meclizine (Bonine)

Meclizine is another antihistamine that can alleviate motion sickness symptoms. As with all medications, it should be administered cautiously and with medical advice.

When to Consult a Doctor

If your baby’s motion sickness is severe, persistent, or affecting its overall well-being, it is essential to consult a paediatrician. They can provide personalized guidance and head out any underlying health issues.

Motion Sickness in Babies vs. Adults

While the symptoms and causes of motion sickness are similar in babies and adults, babies may be less able to communicate their discomfort. Thus, parents must be vigilant and take appropriate measures to keep babies comfortable during travel.


Motion sickness in babies can be distressing for both the child and the parents. Understanding the causes, symptoms, prevention, and remedies can make travel experiences more pleasant for the entire family. By following the tips mentioned in this article and seeking medical advice when necessary, parents can ensure that their babies have a more enjoyable and comfortable journey.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can babies outgrow motion sickness?

As the vestibular system matures, many babies outgrow motion sickness as they age.

Can I give my baby motion sickness medication without a doctor’s prescription?

Giving any medication to a baby without consulting a paediatrician first is not recommended.

Are there any long-term effects of motion sickness in babies?

Generally, motion sickness in babies does not have long-term effects and improves with age.

Can motion sickness be hereditary?

Evidence suggests that a predisposition to motion sickness can have a genetic component.

Are there any alternative therapies for motion sickness in babies?

Some parents succeed with acupressure wristbands or homoeopathic remedies, but their effectiveness varies and should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

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