There are a lot of kids who vomit in the car and it’s mostly an annoyance. For our son with Noonan’s Syndrome every bit of food counts. He has difficulty gaining weight under normal circumstances and getting car sick makes it that much worse. If you find yourself thinking, “It’s not that big of a deal,” please remember it is a big deal for our son.
One of the first things we were told to do with our son to soothe him was to toss him in a car seat and drive him around. Our first pediatrician even recommended sleeping in a car seat as a way to lessen the discomfort of his reflux. We did try these things before writing them off but they weren’t helpful for us. The angle of the car seat seemed to guarantee our son would puke all over himself, in the car or out of it.
When our son grew out of the infant car seat that helped significantly. The angle was better so he didn’t become ill, choking on his own reflux, as soon as we put him in the car. In order to spare the car’s interior the full brunt of the continuous stream of regurgitated formula we put a pad under the seat designed to keep the mess from soaking in. If it sounds like our car is gross that’s because it is. There’s no way to keep a car seat clean if your child vomits in it on an almost daily basis. It’s just not possible.
I’m sure we’re not the only parents facing this problem so I want to share what we’ve tried, whether or not it’s been successful, and what we’ve been afraid to try. Please feel free to leave well-intentioned suggestions in the comments section below.
- Minimize the number of stops while driving – this works extremely well for us. Our son gets sick less frequently in the car when we’re not stopping at lights or stop signs.
- Feed at the destination and not before you go – this is touch and go for us because our son may still vomit even if it’s been four or so hours since he ate last. It is much better to vomit old food than to vomit a freshly fed bottle so we still do this… but it doesn’t prevent the vomiting. It’s more to minimize the calories lost.
- Put a mirror up for a rear-facing child – we had a lot of success with this. I’m not sure if it was because he was less stressed being able to see us, or if it was because he could see where the car was going. Regardless of the reason, it did help. Alternatively, you can turn your child’s car seat around to forward-facing though it’s not recommended even where it’s legal to do so. I won’t go into the gory details. There are plenty of resources online to explain what the difference is in a collision between a rear-facing and forward-facing child. Once you understand the risk you’re taking it’s a personal decision.
- Treat the air and fabric to remove the smell of previous vomiting episodes – we haven’t been successful with this. We still do it for our comfort of course but it doesn’t seem to have any effect on the number of vomiting episodes.
If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. Please like, comment, or share below.