This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SuperAbsorbent #CollectiveBias
I feel like half my parenting is taking preventive measures. Making sure a favorite sippy cup is clean and filled with ice water. Asking a million times if anyone needs to go potty. Knowing the signs of an impending tantrum and swooping in with a distraction before it happens. There’s a reason parents buy stuff in bulk; running out of someone’s favorite cereal is the fastest way to start a toddler riot. And if picking up a gigantic box of Huggies Little Movers Plus from Costco helps prevent the down-to-the-very-last-diaper panic? Sign me up, y’all.
But sometimes you don’t know you’re unprepared until the crap hits the fan. Or, in the case of carsick kids, the vomit hits the car floor. David gave me darling children, yes, but he also passed along his tendency for motion sickness. Would that have been a deal breaker if I had known? Well…
Nah. I’ll put up with a lot of grossness for that lil grin. And his dad’s not bad either.
At any rate, we’ve had plenty of barfing incidents in our five years of parenting. The first was when I took a solo trip with a 10-month-old Mila, which resulted in me not being able to even look at blueberry yogurt for years. Then there was the time when we got lost on the Balboa peninsula on our way to a family dinner; Margot screamed her face off while Mila puked her guts out and there was nowhere to pull over. That one was especially memorable.
We’ve pulled over to deal with carsickness in some of the most inconvenient times and places. During a snowstorm. On the side of a busy freeway. By a midwestern cornfield. Most recently both girls started vomiting in tandem with almost no warning while we were out running errands.
I hate it every. Single. Time.
That said, I’ve picked up a few tricks to help avoid the carsickness. And if I can’t force them to just not throw up, at least I can be prepared for the worst!
Teach carsick kids to use a barf bag + keep one close by.
Margot is still learning but Mila knows the drill by now. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of her in my rearview mirror with her bag by her face…just in case. It’s very reassuring.
Stock your car with wipes, water, plastic bags, diapers, and a change of clothes for everyone. I know from experience that barfy kids DO NOT like to be buckled back into their seats in the nude. Now I stash supplies all over my minivan.
Bring a garbage bag.
If you do wind up with carsick kids, you need a place to store anything unlucky enough to be in the splash zone. We throw clothes, blankets, used wipes, etc. into a garbage bag, tie it tightly, and toss it in the trunk. This minimizes the stink in the car and keeps everything that needs to be washed in one place for easy cleanup when we reach our destination.
Take frequent pit stops.
Everyone feels better when you stop for a stretch and breath of fresh air every couple hours. Get a snack, change a diaper, look at a weird roadside attraction. Do what you gotta do to break your trip into manageable pieces.
Avoid long stretches on winding roads.
A more scenic route can be tempting. DO NOT GIVE IN TO TEMPTATION. It usually takes more time, and all that back + forth and stop + go will not be kind to your kiddos tummies. Stick to the freeway when possible.
Travel while they sleep.
If you can time longer drives to coincide with nap time or, even better, bed time, DO IT. Sleeping children are very rarely vomiting children.
Be mindful of what meals + snacks you give them.
Sometimes I’m not too dumb to learn from my mistakes. After the blueberry yogurt incident, I’m careful to stick to small portions of crackers, dry cereal, and other things that a) are unlikely to upset sensitive tummies and b) won’t smell horrible when they come back up.
Peppermint is your friend.
Gum, candy canes, essential oils…whatever form it takes, peppermint is good for settling stomachs. Amen.
Stay away from books, screens, + other activities that take their eyes off the road.
It would be so easy to hand them a coloring book or turn on a movie, but that’s the quickest way to wind up with carsick kids, guaranteed. We listen to audio books, sing along to our favorite tunes, or (novel idea!) talk and play car games as a family instead.
Play games that direct their attention outside + up or forward.
When I sense the girls getting restless, I’ll ask them to tell me what animals they see in the clouds. We count all the cars of one color, look for certain numbers or letters, and keep an eye out for animals…anything to keep their eyes out the windows and far ahead.
Give your sickest kid the seat with the best view + decent air flow.
Mila is most likely to vomit, so she rides in the middle. Always. Our minivan has rear air (hallelujah!) but directing an AC vent toward carsick kids or even rolling down windows will help them breathe, calm down, and (hopefully) not throw up.
Pay attention but don’t panic.
Veteran parents of carsick kids learn the signs to watch for; little ones always have a tell. Margot starts panic crying. Mila whimpers. If I can calmly distract them or change the situation (see 3, 6, 7, 8, and 10 above), great. Otherwise, I calmly get their barf bag ready or remind them to pull it out. If they throw up, I calmly reassure them it’s okay and we’ll take care of it. Then I calmly–and quickly–pull over and deal. Are you sensing a theme? A parent who is freaking out isn’t very reassuring to a sad kid. It’s tough to remain calm, but getting upset doesn’t improve the situation. Even when I start gagging (and I always do) I just breathe through my mouth and pray I can keep it together.
Like with most parenting challenges, you hope for the best + expect the worst. Vomit happens. It gets on your new upholstery and into the crevices of their car seats and all over their hands and hair, and it is awful.
But it can be cleaned up. You’ll all survive. And who knows: maybe you’ll get lucky and have an uneventful drive!
Huggies is the only diaper brand that Ryan hasn’t been able to leak through or blow out, thanks to the Double Grip strips and Leak Lock® with up to 12 hour protection. We are big fans. And I’m so glad we have a Costco membership these days. Buying diapers in bulk is always a better deal, and Huggies Little Movers Plus are their most absorbent diapers yet–hence the “Plus” bit–and they’re only available at Costco.
Next month is a really good time to stock up too. From September 1st to the 25th, sizes 1 + 2 (Huggies Little Snugglers Plus) are only $31.49 after a $6 discount, and sizes 3-6 are $36.99 after the same discount. Select locations will have newborn sizing as well for only $29.99…and you get an insane number of diapers. For those of you who don’t want to leave the house (*raises hand*) Costco.com will be offering free shipping for all sizes of Huggies during that time as well. IS A VERY GOOD DEAL GUYS.
Do your kids get carsick? Do you? I’m more prone to it the older I get, but David has always struggled on long drives and roller coasters. Alas. Any suggestions you’d add to my list?