Car Sickness

Summer is almost here and you might have travel plans with the family. But if your child has motion sickness, that can make your trip challenging! Motion sickness happens when the brain receives conflicting signals from the motion-sensing parts. For an example, your child may be sitting in the backseat of a car and cannot see the outside, but their ears can sense the motion of the moving car. This kind of inconsistent messaging results in confusion for the brain and can activate a response that causes sickness. 

Signs and symptoms of motion sickness include stomach queasiness, cold sweats, fatigue, and loss of appetite. In some cases, your child might vomit. Most children under age 2 don’t experience car sickness, but children between ages 3 and 12 are the most susceptible.

Car sickness doesn’t mean all of your travel plans need to be cancelled. If your child gets sick, the best thing to do is to take frequent breaks during the trip. When the car stops moving, the sickness goes away. Allow your child to walk around for a bit before resuming your trip. What can also help is giving your child a light snack before your travel since hunger can worsen symptoms. It’s good for them to eat something within three hours before traveling. While in the car, playing music or engaging in conversations can distract them from feeling ill. You can also encourage them to look at things outside of the car instead of reading a book, playing electronic games, or watching something on a screen device. Providing adequate air ventilation can also prevent sickness. 

If you try all of the above methods and your child still gets motion sickness, stop the car and have your child lie on their back for a few minutes with their eyes closed. Place a cool towel on their forehead for relief. You may want to consider giving them medication. But, it’s important to know that while the medication may help, it can also cause side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth and nose, or blurred vision. Although some of these medications for motion sickness don’t require prescription, we advise you to first talk to our pediatrician before administering anything. Furthermore, if you notice your child experiencing symptoms of motion sickness during non-movement activities, especially if the symptoms include headaches and difficulty seeing, hearing, walking, or talking, it’s important to contact our doctor. These symptoms could be the result of something else. 

Car sickness doesn’t always last forever. The more your child travels in the car, the more they will get used to the motion. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office. 

Protecting Kids from Heat and Sun

Summer is just around the corner and the weather will be getting hotter! While this is a fun season as kids get a break from school and can play outside more, you’ll want to keep them safe from extreme heat and the sun’s harmful rays. We have some safety tips to share for your family to have a great summer!

Firstly, it’s important to keep track of the hot temperatures. Temperatures over 90°F can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion, or a heat stroke. When the temperatures are this high, it’s best to limit the amount of time your kids spend outside and to keep them indoors with an air conditioner. You can also keep them cool by dressing them in lightweight, loose, and light-colored clothing and use ice packs if needed. A cool bath or a swim in the pool can be helpful as well.

Make sure to keep your children hydrated with water. Remind them to drink water throughout the day. The more active or older they are the more water they’ll need. Babies under 6 months should only be given breast milk or formula, however. Be alert for heat stroke which occurs when the body overheats and starts to shut down. Signs of this include excessive sweating, rapid pulse, confusion, dehydration, fever, abnormal breathing, or muscle spasms. If you notice these, contact the ER immediately and use a cool towel or an ice pack to cool your child. 

It’s also important to remember to never leave your child in a hot car. The inside of a car can reach high temperatures quickly that even a few minutes is dangerous. Keep your car keys out of reach and your car doors locked so that your child is unable to go inside a car unnoticed. It’s also good to remind them that cars are not safe places for them to hide in.

When your kids are playing outside, protecting them from getting a sunburn is essential. Limit sun exposure as much as possible during peak sun intensity hours, typically 10am-4pm.  Babies under 6 months of age should be kept under the shade to avoid direct sunlight. Avoid skin exposure to the sunlight for children through lightweight clothes and hats. Sunglasses should be used to protect their eyes. For skin that is exposed, cover it up with a liberal amount of sunscreen, avoiding the eyelids. As sunscreen takes some time to absorb, rub it in well and apply it 15-30 minutes before your child goes outside.  It’s also important to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or anytime time after a lot of sweating and swimming.  Although many sunscreens are labeled as water-resistant, none are truly water proof.  Even on cloudy days, sunscreen should be used as up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can get through the clouds.

Choose sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and is labeled as “broad-spectrum” since this means it will screen both UVB and UVA rays. It’s best to avoid any sunscreen that contains oxybenzone as there are concerns of mild hormonal properties.  Keep in mind that even with sunscreen, kids can still get sunburns if they spend too long outside in the sun. If your child does get a sunburn, use an ice pack or cool compress and give them acetaminophen or ibuprofen if they’re in pain. Increase their hydration and stay out of the sun until the sunburn heals.  If you notice any infection or blisters or your child develops a fever, please contact our pediatrician.