Travel bump: Toddler motion sickness

road trip

It was Mother’s Day last weekend here in Dubai (we celebrate Mother’s Day here twice – one for the UAE/UK Mother’s day in March and one for the global Mother’s Day as we know it, in May). We went for an out of town trip to Fujairah, one the UAE’s seven Emirates and a couple of hours drive from Dubai. We’ve been to Fujairah just a few weeks back and we love the place. The children love the change of sceneries too.

Nothing like a very “motherly incident” on Mother’s Day to make me feel like a real mom: my son threw up in the car mid-journey and I was covered with vomit.

I swear I’ve said before that our kids are rock star travellers. Never the ones to whine or throw a tantrum and always ready for an adventure. We never had major incidents while travelling with them – ok, once in Sri Lanka when the car was zigzagging down the mountainous region of Nuwara Eliya to Kandy in July last year. Benjamin threw up and I had to “catch” his vomit as much as I could so we won’t ruin the rented car’s carpet. I can’t blame him, I felt so nauseous too. The other child, the older one was perfectly ok. (She can even read a book inside a moving car! Cringe.)

ben motion sickness

* I scanned photos of him inside the car, the Metro and the public bus…and I don’t know, this could be over-thinking or paranoia but he really seems to be less happy when in the car! *

I thought that his motion sickness in Sri Lanka was a one-off unfortunate event, after all, the road was really tough, even for adults. And he hasn’t thrown up on our car trips since…until now.

This is when I realized I could’ve passed on the “motion sickness” gene on to my son.

I tried to recall the times he didn’t throw up: road trips from Dubai to Abu Dhabi which is just straight highway, or trips that isn’t too long, maybe less than two hours. And we had been to Fujairah when we stayed at Novotel Hotel which is just off the new highway, in the city center. (The trip was only an hour and a half max)

So what makes last week’s Fujairah trip different? For one, it was a long drive. We got off the new highway after an hour and a half and had to take the normal roads. There was traffic as it was the night before the weekend when everyone seemed to be on the roads. Next, there were too many road humps and ROUNDABOUTS!

We were about 50 kilometers from our destination when he vomited so we had to stop the car to clean up. He was ok immediately after that episode but I wasn’t. I was scared what will happen in the next 50 kilometers. I had my extra clothes ready.

When it was time to come back to Dubai, we stopped at a nearby pharmacy to ask for an over the counter drug to prevent motion sickness and possible projectile vomiting on the way home. It must have been laden with stuff to make one drowsy because Benjamin slept the whole way through until we got home after nearly two hours.

Great, right? We are vomit free!

BUT it’s kind of sad really, him just sleeping there, strapped in his car seat. Benjamin loves our car trips, he loves looking at all the vehicles around, the rich colors of the desert, the occasional camels we see far ahead, the mountains of Fujairah! And now, he wasn’t able to see anything.

Can motion sickness go away with age? I certainly hope so! I don’t want to medicate my child each and every time we go out for a long drive!


  1. Gosh I have the exact same problem. And I’m sorry to tell you that your son has to live with it for the rest of his life. Ive had it ever since I was little and my mum has it too. I cannot go on curvy roads or boats or anything of that sort. I used to take a tablet called Dizinil or something before, but that made me drowsy. Now I use a motion sickness band on my wrists and it really helps when I travel. Its available at Boots or any pharmacy.



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