Remember travel sickness? Back in the 70s and 80s, few families escaped unscathed. Every day 1000s of kids would projectile vomit all over their dads’ cars (mums didn’t have cars so much back in those days). If mum and dad were lucky, they would make it to the side of the road in time.
There was less motorway travel, roads were bumpier (well, maybe), cars didn’t give such a smooth ride, there were no seat belts in the back and no self-respecting child aged over 2 would be in a car seat. It was a recipe for disaster.
But you don’t hear much about travel sickness these days. There’s not a lot of it about. So it was reasonable for us to expect we wouldn’t be affected.
We escaped unscathed for nearly nine years, but then last year we went to Italy. We hired a car for the long journey from the airport to the villa. The hire car seat for my daughter was a booster cushion rather than her usual booster seat, the car wasn’t as smooth as Daddy’s and she had no DVDs to watch.
An hour from the villa she made a rather ominous noise. A minute later, she was sick.
We stripped her down to her knickers and within minutes she was singing ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’ in a comedy voice.
On the return journey we stopped countless times because she said her tummy was hurting. I was starting to get fed up with her and thinking she was winding me up as I paced up and down a garage forecourt in the heat of an Italian motorway.
We were actually in the airport when she announced she was going to be sick. My husband whipped her out of the car in the nick of time.
Back in Blighty, there seemed to be no problem. Her seat is better and she watches a DVD when we travel. I didn’t worry at all.
Then earlier this year she started complaining. It would start with a headache and progress to a tummy ache. On the way back from Center Parcs in the spring she felt so ill she was crying.
It was time to take action. I bought her some acupressure wrist bands and put blinds up on the car windows (we’ve never bothered with those before) which served the dual purpose of blocking out the sun and blocking the view out the side. I restricted what she ate on the morning we travelled – plain carbohydrates and nothing greasy or fatty.
And it worked!
When we arrived at the railway station to set off for Disneyland Paris recently, I contemplated leaving the wristbands in the car (she’d always been fine with trains). But I kept them in my bag. As soon as the train got through the Channel Tunnel and picked up speed in France, she started to feel ill. Her head ached and all she could do was sit with her eyes closed while I read a dreadful fairy book to her for a whole hour. The wristbands went on and I gave her Calpol for her headache. Only when the train slowed as we got into Paris did she start to feel better.
In preparation for the return journey, I dosed her up with Calpol an hour and a half before we set off and got the wristbands in place. She was laughing and joking about big bums, smelly poos and fat willies most of the way home. I should have told her off, but I was just so grateful she was OK, I let it go.