If you have an upcoming car, plane, or boat ride, you may be looking for ways to keep your child from getting motion sickness. Depending on how you’re traveling, this condition is also known as carsickness, airsickness, or seasickness.
Dramamine is an over-the-counter product that can help prevent this condition in adults, but is it safe to use in children? Simply put, the answer is yes. In most cases, it’s safe to use Dramamine in children older than 2 years of age. Read on to learn more about how to use this drug safely in children.
Safe use of Dramamine for kids
Dramamine is an antihistamine, which is a medication often used to treat allergy symptoms. It contains a drug called dimenhydrinate. This drug helps prevent symptoms of motion sickness, including dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
You can give Dramamine to children ages 2 years and older. If your child is younger than 2 years of age, you should get approval from your child’s doctor before giving your child Dramamine. No matter the age of your child, it’s a good idea to check with their doctor before giving them this drug.
How Dramamine prevents motion sickness
You keep your balance with the help of signals sent to your brain by other parts of your body, such as your eyes and inner ears. If these signals don’t match, you can get motion sickness. For instance, when your child travels in a car, they may sense motion in their inner ear. However, they may not be able to see the movement of the car because they can’t see out the window. This sends two different messages to their brain, which can cause nausea and other symptoms of motion sickness.
Dramamine helps prevent these symptoms by reducing the feeling of motion in the inner ear. It also blocks certain actions in the brain that trigger nausea.
Choosing a formula
Dramamine comes as an adult formula and as a formula for kids. Both formulas are safe for use in children, but your child may prefer the kids’ version. It comes in tablets that are chewable and grape-flavored. The adult version comes as a tablet they swallow with water.
You should give your child Dramamine 30–60 minutes before they ride in a car or other moving vehicle. Follow the dosage instructions on the package. The dosage information is based on age.
Try the smallest recommended dose first. If that doesn’t help, increase the amount the next time you give your child a dose. You can give your child a dose every 6–8 hours as needed. Be sure you don’t give your child more than the maximum dosage listed on the package.
Conditions of concern
If your child has certain health conditions, Dramamine may not be a good option for them. Talk with your child’s doctor before using this drug if your child has any conditions that may cause health problems when used with Dramamine. Examples of these conditions include:
Side effects of Dramamine
Like most drugs, Dramamine can cause side effects. The more common side effects of Dramamine in children can include:
- dry mouth
- blurry vision
- thickened mucus in their airways
- feeling excited or restless
- increased heart rate
An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. An interaction can be harmful or keep the drug from working well. Before your child starts taking Dramamine, tell your child’s doctor or pharmacist about any medications, vitamins, or herbs your child is taking. This includes over-the-counter medications. Providing this information can help the doctor or pharmacist prevent possible interactions.
Talking to your child’s doctor or pharmacist is especially important if you know your child takes any drugs that might interact with Dramamine. Examples of these drugs can include:
- other antihistamines or cold products such as loratadine (Claritin), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and many combination products
- prescription pain drugs such as hydrocodone
- antidepressant medications such as amitriptyline and imipramine
- antibiotics such as gentamicin
Other ways to prevent motion sickness
Before giving your child medication for motion sickness, you may want to try a few other ways to prevent this problem. When your child is in a moving vehicle, encourage them to do the following:
- Look out the window. Keeping their eyes on the horizon can help reduce nausea.
- Close their eyes.
- Avoid reading, watching movies, or playing games.
- Sing songs or listen to music. Distractions can help.
- Have a light snack, such as crackers.
- Open the nearest window. It’s helpful to keep the air in the car fresh and cool.
- Suck on ginger lozenges or sip ginger ale. Ginger can help reduce nausea.
- Sit in the front seat if they’re riding in a car. Have them sit in the front seat only if they’re old enough to do so safely.
If these steps don’t work, Dramamine may be a good option for your child. Talk to your child’s doctor or your pharmacist about using Dramamine.
For most children 2 years of age and older, Dramamine is a safe option for preventing motion sickness. For a more natural approach, first try the tips listed above. If those tips don’t help, ask your child’s doctor or your pharmacist if Dramamine is safe for your child. Your doctor can help you find ways to make your child comfortable so they can enjoy upcoming trips.