Nation's children sick of car journeys


Thousands of parents will be dreading family car journeys this summer as a new study reveals one in four British children suffer from travel sickness. The research by women's car insurance specialist, Diamond also suggests the affliction could run in the family.

The study of 2,000 parents has shown even those whose children aren't regularly travel sick prepare for the worst with two fifths taking the precaution of keeping sick bags in the car just in case.

And for the parents of children who do get car sick, three quarters have to stop and pull over for their child to be ill, travelling an average of just 35 miles before halting the journey. The research also found two fifths of unlucky parents have been left cleaning up after their child was ill in the car mid journey, while a similar number avoid long car journeys altogether because of the stress of their children possibly getting sick.

Interestingly, the research suggests parents who suffered from travel sickness as a child themselves are five times more likely to have a child who also gets ill in the car, compared to parents who did not get sick as a child:

  • 41% of parents who suffered from travel sickness as a child have a child who also suffers.
  • 8% of parents who did not suffer from travel sickness as a child have a child who suffers.

Although many children will grow out of being car sick, the findings reveal this isn't always the case. Three in five parents who said they suffered from travel sickness as a child, still experience symptoms as an adult.

Diamond's managing director, Harriet Neale said, "Car journeys with children can be difficult at the best of times, but when you throw in travel sickness, they become even more stressful for parents and children alike.

"Our study certainly suggests travel sickness runs in the family so many parents will empathise with their children and hopefully know a few remedies to make car journeys that little bit easier."

So, what do parents find works best for their children? Opening the windows and getting air circulating around the car is the best way to alleviate the symptoms of travel sickness, with three quarters saying it works. Almost half of parents said travel sickness pills or avoiding looking down will stop their children feeling sick, however acupressure wristbands, chewing gum and closing eyes are the least likely to work.

Method of alleviating travel sickness

% of parents who said it works

Opening the windows


Avoiding looking down or reading


Taking travel sickness pills


Always sitting in the front


Taking a nap


Focusing on the horizon


Closing your eyes


Wearing an acupressure wristband


Chewing gum


Harriet continues, "With so many families affected we've put together these simple but effective ways to reduce the risk of you or your children feeling ill when travelling in the car.

  1. Keep your car ventilated by opening windows a little.
  2. Breathe slowly and deeply through your mouth.
  3. Suck a boiled sweet or a mint.
  4. Stop the car regularly on long journeys for breaks.
  5. Avoid reading and writing or focussing on near objects.
  6. Do not eat heavy meals before or during travel.
  7. Avoid fizzy drinks and alcohol. Sipping still drinks or water will prevent dehydration.
  8. Focus on a distant object straight ahead.
  9. If your child is affected by travel sickness, use a car seat, which raises their height so they can see out of the front of the car.
  10. Games such as "I-Spy" or counting cars help to distract children and encourage them to look at distant objects.

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