Seasickness and kids?

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1,537 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
DD (3.5) has never cruised before. She doesn't get car sick, but I'm worried about being at sea and her getting sea sick. I was VERY prone to motion sickness as a kid, but I no longer get sick, either in cars or on ships, so I never worried about being sick at sea.

I want to be prepared, but I don't know what to bring along for her just in case. Ginger pills? Dramamine? Sea Bands? Something else?

DH has never sailed before, but he can worry about himself if he gets sea sick.
21,869 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Why don't you ask her pediatrician what he/she thinks. Kids seem to bear up better than adults most of the time so you likely won't need anything.
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Joined Jan 2002
My DS(6) does get car sick, but has never had an issue on any of the 4 cruises he's been on. Our ships have been for the most part mid-sized (as opposed to really large which seem to have less movement), and he still didn't have any trouble. I would check with your pediatrician as suggested, just to be prepared. But I agree that if you haven't seen other signs of motion sickness (car, amusement park rides, etc.) you're likely in good shape.
1,537 Posts
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Thanks! I was planning on giving the ped a call, but it's always nice to have "real-life" been there done that words of wisdom, too.
New Joizey
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Joined Dec 2008
How come nobody ever thinks to ask the pharmacist?
Pharmacists can recommend over-the-counter remedies (and we can now vaccinate people for the flu and other vaccines).

There are few pharmaceutical options for kids.
Bonine, Dramamine (Less Drowsy Formula) which is meclizine
Dramamine Original Formula, Gravol (avail. in Canada) which is dimenhydrinate.
Benadryl which is diphenhydramine.

Bonine/Dramamine (Less Drowsy Formula) is not recommended for children under the age of 12.
Do not give this medication to a child younger than 12 years old.
This is because of the meclizine, it really hasn't been officially studied or submitted to the FDA for the use in children.

Dramamine Original Formula/Gravol (dimenhydrinate). This medicine has been around a long time and has been studied for children. Dimenhydrinate has recommended doses for kids as young as 2 years old.

To prevent or treat all forms of motion sickness, the first dose should be taken 1/2 to 1 hour before starting activity:

children 2 to under 6 years: give 1/2 to 1 chewable tablet every 6-8 hours; do not give more than 3 chewable tablets in 24 hours, or as directed by a doctor.
children 6 to under 12 years: give 1 to 2 chewable tablets every 6-8 hours; do not give more than 6 chewable tablets in 24 hours, or as directed by a doctor.

Do not use for children under 2 years of age unless directed by a doctor
Benadryl is the unusual one and can be given to kids 2 and up.
Diphenhydramine has been around for a long time. Benadryl used to be used as a cough medicine (Benylin) 50 years ago until it was decided that even though it works to suppress coughs, it is a better drug for allergies. So, another one of Benadryl's uses... is motion sickness.
Benadryl is also used to suppress coughs, to treat motion sickness, to induce sleep, and to treat mild forms of Parkinson's disease.
Sure it has all these other uses, and it's BEST for allergies and sleep, but... in a pinch? You can give it for motion sickness.
Benadryl is the only one you should ask the pediatrician for in regards to the dose for really little kids... in those cases, it's dosed on a milligram per kilogram (dosed by weight) basis.

You also have some non-pharmaceutical natural remedies.
Ginger - Available as a gum, soft drink, capsules, candy.
I love Altoids... they use to sell the Ginger Altoids domestically... recently had to buy them from Amazon in bulk...

Seaband makes a chewing gum

and there's ginger snap cookies that I've read on CruiseCritic that people said have worked.
Sea Bands which work for some and not for others

Hopefully, you will have smooth seas and won't even have to think about these remedies, but it doesn't hurt to have a supply just in case. I bring Dramamine and Ginger Altoids with me on cruises... haven't really had to use them often...

Since your child is 3 1/2, I would bring Dramamine and a ginger candy. Altoids, if you can find them, are curiously strong... and the toddler might hate them.
Most likely, though... the cruise ship should be motion sickness free... so you can keep the Dramamine around for emergencies. Sometimes, if you decide to take an excursion aboard a smaller boat (catamaran, glass bottom boat) you may experience motion sickness.
Fredericksburg, va. USA
83,817 Posts
Joined May 2001
Most kids have no problem....especially the younger ones. But, ask her doctor what she could take, should she feel ill....and bring it with you. The ship will not have any "children's strength" in any medications.
Ontario, Canada
2,340 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by Keith1010
Speak with your pediatrician.

With all due respect you should not be seeking advice like this from people you don't know.

I know you're trying to up your post count Keith, but not everyone has a paediatrician, other professionals (like pharmacists) can offer equally good information, and sometimes parents just want to have some information and options to research before consulting with their health care professional. Plus if a medication is available over the counter or off the shelf, no medical consult is required. I'm not saying this is the best option, but it is certainly not illegal or negligent.
Fwiw, I realize most people on these boards are American, but not all. Us Canadians do not use paediatricians for routine care of healthy children, my boys see our family doctor and many see nurse practitioners as their primary care provider. To suggest that only a paediatrician could give good advice is outright wrong. This is said with full respect for paediatricians
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1,537 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Thanks for the detailed answer, Mack2. I'm definitely guilty of rarely asking a pharmacist for advice.

Originally posted by Keith1010
Speak with your pediatrician.

With all due respect you should not be seeking advice like this from people you don't know.


Thanks for your well thought out answer, Keith, and for not reading beyond the first post.
New Joizey
872 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Another remedy that I've read on Cruise Critic is a green apple.

People here have said that the crew members aboard the ship have given people green apples to eat in rough seas, and it helped take the edge off of the nausea.

The only time any of my kids ever got sick aboard a cruise ship was on a cruise we took during the first week of November to the western Caribbean. We were leaving Belize just as a hurricane was bearing down on the area.

That night was very quiet on the ship... We were moving a lot. They had shut some of the outside decks and they told us the next day that there were 20-30foot swells we were fighting through.
I dosed my kids up on Dramamine... they were okay, slept through the unpleasant evening.
135 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
It can be hard to tell how kids will react with sea sickness.
I was worried about DS1 (10 yrs) who has a tendency to get car sick.
We experienced very rough seas on the last cruise and he was actually not that bad - it was DS2 (5 yrs), who has never experienced any type of motion sickness that vomited!
DH took him to the ship Dr and they gave him half a Gravol tablet. He was up and able to enjoy the cruise very quickly after the medication.
DH and I took the Free tablets they give you at the desk.
DS1 chewed a ginger tablet and wore sea bands and felt okay - a bit sick, but no vomit and still able to function/get around okay.

So . . I would be prepared with a few options and hope you have smooth seas and don't need any of them!
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Palm City, Fl
29 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
My son, who is four, has never had a problem either....until our last trip:/ he threw up on the airplane after some heavy turbulence, the Dramamine for kids fixed him up immed. Also we were sailing Alaska and had a day of seas we could feel. He told me he was dizzy and I gave him a Dramamine and he was fine. It did make him sleepy though every time I gave it to him and he would fall asleep within an hour of taking it.
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Port Orange, FL
2,169 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
As previously noted, all kids are different, but I'll tell you about mine.

My oldest DD has been cruising since she was 2, in all types of weather, on all sizes of ships, and has never been seasick. She can't read in the car or do spinning rides without getting sick, but has no problems onboard. She just didn't try to push her luck on the Oasis carousel.
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