Monday, July 06, 2015

Does the Car-Free Lifestyle Give Kids Motion Sickness?

We flew into Atlanta last week for a family vacation, and the trip did not go smoothly.

Nothing will ever match the Worst Flight of All Time, but this one came close. All three kids got motion sickness, and two of them threw up (one threw up twice!).

The plane was in its descent when Alice vomited for a second time. Lucy took one look at her and then threw up too (one of those times I wish she didn't copy everything her big sister does).

Let's just say we weren't very popular with our fellow travelers. And I'm not sure this is something that giving out those goody bags can make up for.

Things haven't gotten much better since we've been on solid ground. The kids aren't used to riding in cars, and the girls have been sick twice in the rented SUV.

We're now putting them all on a dose of Dramamine, reminding me of the haiku I penned last summer.
Take the drama-mine
Or we'll have a drama-yours
With tummy trouble.
Lots of kids get carsick, but all this has me wondering: Does the car-free lifestyle make children more vulnerable to nausea?


Other than getting into an occasional cab, our kids hardly ever see the inside of a car. In fact, they hardly travel at all. This Atlanta trip was the first time any of them ventured beyond a narrow band of Manhattan (and western Queens) since last November.

Perhaps they're not building up the iron stomachs that suburban children do. They're not piling in to the minivan for a trip to soccer or Target. They're never using an iPad in the back of a station wagon.


The kids ride in subways and buses aplenty, but that doesn't seem to trigger the same nausea. (I've never seen anyone throw up on transit who wasn't fall-down drunk — usually not a problem for children.)

I'll have to conduct more research before I declare New York City to be a cause of motion sickness, but the early evidence seems compelling.