In case of car sickness: Ten helpful things to have on your roadtrip with kids

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Greetings from my kitchen table! We are home from our 2850-mile roadtrip around the American southwest, and I’m happy to say we saw NO carsickness on the return portion of our road trip.

As we’ve been discussing on the Facebook page and in the blog, carsickness can happen when you least expect it, and even to those from whom you’d least expect it. Here are ten very useful things (some I had with us, others I will next time around) to have in the car during your family road trip in case it happens to you. (If this displays strangely in your email, please click here to view online.)


1. Replacement/backup or disposable car seat cover

car seat coverSome car seat and booster covers clean up more easily than others, but even if yours deflects most spills with ease, carsickness may make you glad to have a fresh change of cover at the scenic turnout. From generic “fits most toddler-to-40 lbs” car seat covers to brand-specific replacement covers, you CAN get an extra car seat cover to fit most toddler car seats. In fact, you can even get disposable covers for the car seat and car seat straps. With these, you can start with the extra cover on the seat for much easier roadside clean up in case…




2. Squirting sports water bottle

squirt sports water botle

As I recommend in Travels with Baby, a squirting water bottle is already quite useful when you’ll be dealing with sandy bottoms and diaper changes at the beach (see dozens of options here). In the event of carsickness, this can also be just what you need to help clean vomit out of the nooks and crannies of your car seat . Believe me, these are tough and very important places to get clean on the afflicted car seat. (If you still have your peri bottle from the hospital, you can use that, too.) This will also be helpful to rinse off your child at the roadside turnout. Shown: Squirting sports water bottle with many uses…


3. Kitchen trash bag

Big enough for even the car seat cover if needed.Ever since our first bout of carsickness upon entering Yosemite Valley a few years ago, I make sure we have at least one “tall” kitchen trash bag in the car (folded flat in the glove box is good), just in case. When you have an untimely mess in the car, it’s really helpful to be able to put all clothing, car seat cover, and whatever will need to be washed right into the bag and seal up the odors until you are somewhere you can safely and effectively take care of it. Shown: Trash bags big enough for even the car seat cover if needed.




4. Sanitizing hand wipes

wet ones hand wipesWith more cleaning power and beneficial air-freshening properties (ahem), the canister of hand-sanitizing wipes (a.k.a. antibacterial hand wipes) is indispensible for family road trips. Perfect for ticky hands, playground hands, ice cream dribbles, and then some. I’m also a big fan of these in the travel size packs for air travel–and not just for dealing with airsickness. 😉 Shown: Sanitizing – and hypoallergenic, and extremely handy Wet Ones.




5. Folex Upholstery Cleaner

FolexThis nontoxic, fragrance-free spray can be helpful for car seat cover, upholstery, and carpeting in your car, without adding overwhelming scents for sensitive passengers. In the house ruled by a toddler or overtaken by a charming young puppy, applications may be limitless (believe me). Follow this link  for buying info and to read more about Folex.




6. Quick-dry microfiber towel

A microber towel of any size can be helpful during travel.There are many types and sizes available (see several examples here), so shop around to see which you think will work best for your family. We like to have a small one for drying dishes in the camp site as well, though a larger one will better dry off kids who have splashed in the creek or at the shore in your travels as well. Whatever your model, keep it handy with your clean-up supplies in the car—the extra absorbance works better than regular towels to clean off affected surfaces and it will rinse clean easier and dry much faster than a regular wash cloth or towel as well. Shown: A microber towel of any size can be helpful during travel.



7. Car seat buckle cover

The Bee Safe car seat buckle cover As mentioned earlier, the buckles—including the chest clip—can be surprisingly difficult to clean. As a preventative measure, we finally wrapped our little guy’s chest clip in paper towels just in case. This “Bee Safe” car seat buckle cover, designed to help keep your child from unbuckling his car seat during the drive (another benefit!), will also help give you one less challenge in clean up in case of carsickness. Shown: The Bee Safe car seat buckle cover.



8. Rinse-and-Roll Bibbity Bib with pocket

Rinse and roll Bibbity Bib, built for travels with baby.This reusable, rinsable bib with pocket can also help protect the car seat buckles and help simplify clean up–not to mention it can be quite useful for the usual applications (dining in restaurants, snacking in the car, mashing pablum in airplanes) during travel. Three neck sizes accommodate babies through toddlers, no laundering is required. Read more about the Rinse-and-Roll Bibbity Bib from Kiddopotamus in this Pack This! blog post.



9. Fingernail scrub brush

finger nail brushIt only takes up the tiniest space in your clean up sundries, but the nail cleaning brush may be an indispensible tool for cleaning the nylon webbing straps of your car seat, which can harbor the odors of vomits past in spite of gallons of water and the best hotel wash cloths. After you land at your next stop, a little brush and a little hotel shampoo can work wonders here. (Tip: The small brush can also be quite helpful if your brood stumbles into mud or Parisien sidewalk delights along its journey.) Shown: Tiny hero of the family road trip.



10. Quarters for laundry + a baggie of your detergent from home or laundry pods

laundry podsSure, I could mention the travel laundry kit with the drain cover and laundry line here, but I’ll tell you what: A hotel sink washing is no match for the wrath of carsickness. Better to be prepared to use a real washing machine when you get the chance–and with your low- / no-fragrance detergent from home, or better yet, pack along a few no-mess, fragrance-free laundry pods like these hypoallergenic 3-in-1 laundry pods from GrabGreen. You’ll probably have additional laundry to throw in there anyway. 😉 Shown: Fragrance-free laundry pods – perfect for travel.


I have left off the more obvious airsick bags swiped from your last flight, or the much more useful large Tupperware container with lid, and of course, paper towels, but I would definitely recommend them as well.

How about you?

Do you have anything you’d add to this list? Do you have an indispensible item for travel with carsick-prone kids? Please leave a comment below!

Related posts: Three humble tips to help prevent carsickness on your next roadtrip

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