29 answers

Ever Heard of Benedryl for Car/motion Sickness?

I have a daughter who is 3 1/2 we recently realized that if she is in the car for an exteneded period of time...sometimes only about 40 mins she gets sick and vomits. This is getting progressivly worse so I called our peditrician who told me they didn't really know what to do for her but to try Benedryl. I find this a little disturbing b/c I don't see the connection between this medicine and her symptoms other than I guess it would probably knock her out for the ride but that is not what we are trying to accomplish. I also called our pharmacy who told me they couldn't help me it would have to be our ped office to suggest something. Does anyone have this problem and has Benedryl ever worked for you child? We have a 2 hour ride to a b-day party on Sat so I am trying to find something to help her before then. Thanks!!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

There is a product called Bonine, you can find it at most drug stores, which is for motion sickness in kids. It works like dramamine. We bought it for a cruise and it worked wonders. Benedryl will just make her tired and sleep throught the trip I seriously doubt it will quell her motion sickness. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Benedryl is a sedative, so they won't notice the motion, you don't get car sick when you're asleep. If you have to travel and you know she'll get sick, then you can try this, but realize what you're doing is semi-sedating them. Good luck!!

Hi Lynn,
I have a 7 year old who gets car sick, never heard of benadryl for it. We find that opening a car window near him helps, not giving him sweets near drive time or in the car helps. Also, just in case we carry gallon size ziplocs with a paper towel in each one as a last resort.

Good luck!

More Answers

Lynn, Benedryl has a secondary mode of action, which is why it has been used as a cough medicine. Our vet uses it for nausea for our dog for her chemotherapy sessions. Just an interesting note, the motion-sickness drug Dramimine is chemically related to Benedryl, and was first tried as an antihistamine. It didn't work well, but one of the patients in the clincal trial mentioned that she no longer had the motion sickness from the trolley cars coming to the clinic.

Benedryl doesn't always make children drowsy, many times it makes them a bit hyper. So I suggest you try it out before that 2 hour ride to see if she is too agitated to be confined in the car.

A good article on motion sickness in children and all available therapies, including alternative:


Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

We have been treating our daughter with Benedryl for car sickness since she was 18 months old, and that was almost 2 years ago.
She got sick in the car EVERY DAY, EVERY RIDE no matter how short or long the ride was. She had severe reflux so that helped make it worse. I was desperate for a treatment, my car smelled, and it was miserable for her too.
Finally, a doc mentioned as a side casual note "you know, a half dose of benedryl often relieves motion sickness."
We tried it and it worked the first time AND EVERY TIME! The half dose did not make her drowsy, either.
I believe it has something to do with their equilibrium and how they process movement in the car. I THINK what she said was something about the natural fluid that occurs in the ears/sinuses, equilibrium can become "off" for some kids. The half dose of benedryl helps lessen that liquid motion, and reduces the motion sickness.
Try a half dose first.. and if it works, you might be able to go down to a 1/3 dose for each car ride. We were able to. and again, she does not get drowsy from it. All i know is that it works and THANK GOD!

I read through the suggestions on here but depending on her reason for the nausea, many of the natural things won't work but do work for morning sickness since THAT is an actual stomach thing, unlike motion sickness.
I found that the contents in the motion sickness stuff seemed just a little more worrisome than the Benedryl, and at the half dose, I really did not notice any fatigue or lethargy and no hyperactivity either.
We have done this every day for almost 2 years and it really is the only thing that works. We have tried to "wean" her from it by going to a 1/4 dose or have forgotten and given her nothing, and she will throw up within 10 minutes. The window being down does help prolong it by a minute or two, but the benedryl has stopped it completely now. Now i keep it in the diaper bags, my purse and i am so thankful for the relief for her sake!

1 mom found this helpful

There is a product called Bonine, you can find it at most drug stores, which is for motion sickness in kids. It works like dramamine. We bought it for a cruise and it worked wonders. Benedryl will just make her tired and sleep throught the trip I seriously doubt it will quell her motion sickness. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

an old captain on a boat in Australia, told me to put a cotton ball in one ear only, so the inner ear will stop trying to balance, what is, what makes us sick. believe it or not, it works ! there are also homeopathic pellets you can give her without worry, just go to your local healthfood store or Wegmanns, it will tell you on the little plastic container, what it is for .I forgot the name of it, sorry.good luck. Benadryl might work, but I like my kids to stay away from medecine, if there is a natural alternative !

1 mom found this helpful

Dramamine (motion sickness meds)are actually antihistamines so it would make sense that Benedryl would work also. My kids both get very motion sick and wrist bands (they have kid size ones in bright colors at most drug stores) work wonders for them. They don't work for everyone but my kids never get motion sick with them on. You also need to encourage her to look out the front window instead of the side windows and make sure her booster/car seat is high enough that she can see out the front of the car. Watching movies or coloring/looking at pictures in the car can also make it worse. Try the wrist b ands - they are excellent!

1 mom found this helpful

No reading or electronic games for one thing. Play games where she is looking out the window like "I SPY" or the ABC game. Have you tried peppermint candy to suck on or peppermint gum? Another thing we use is gingersnaps. Make sure she isnt riding on an empty stomach. Those all help calm our daughters upset tummy on car rides. Opening the windows for fresh air also helps. Be sure you have a throw up bowl for the ride and teach her how to use it! Then she will not get vomit on the car or herself.

yes. in fact i take it for vertigo which is dizzyness

Maybe you could try those motion sickness bracelets (I think they are called Sea Bands) that use acupressure points to control nausea and motion sickness. They are natural and drug-free. I even know people who have used them for morning sickness in pregnancy.
Good luck!

Um, yeah the benedryl will only make her drowsy and she can sleep thru the trip...hopefully. But its not a "sedative", its a histimine blocker. Benedryl has no effect on my kids in the drowsy dept. so Ive never used it for that. But check the lables on the motion sickness meds to see if they are safe for kids over age 2yrs. If not then I would recommend timing your trip during her nap and put her seat in the center of the back seat. Keep the temp on the cooler side as warmer air makes it worse.

I am also baffled by this suggestion, but do no that they give this to kids in the hospital for this. I know some kids going though chemo and obviously this is a common side effect, so they give them benedryl. Who knows why it works, but I think it is a fairly common practice!

Peppermint and ginger essential oils diluted with vegetable oil placed behind the ears and a warm compress on the stomach as needed. I only use good quality oils, the other stuff can actually make things worse.

I have been motion sick my entire life and I found a wrist band that works. It is not medicated so no side effects. There are two kinds seaband which puts pressure on the nerve in the wrist to stop nausea (cheap and can be found at Target) or an electronic one that works the best but pricey at boating store maybe Bass Pro Shops. I have used both for flying pregnant and breastfeeding and loved them.

Hope this helps.

I would avoid the Benadryl; it will as other say here make her either sleepy or hyper, and do you really want her in either state when she arrives at a party, grandparents' house, etc.? Dramamine can work on adults but I have no idea how it works in kids that young and it may have side effects; I'd definitely ask the doctor first about that one. You can't necessarily drug her for every trip so explore all the options.

Try the old-fashioned stuff first if possible before medications:

--Keep the windows cracked for fresh air, yes, even in winter, and do not have the heat on too high. Being hot and airless encourages nausea. Have her take off coat, sweater, etc. before any ride so she's comfortable and cool.
--Get her a LIGHT snack like crackers before she goes but not too close to drive time. Have crackers on hand. Nothing too salty or heavy. Have water available.
--Ensure she is not looking down at books, electronic toys etc. She needs to look up and out the windows as much as possible! It's the same idea as on a boat -- look down and you get seasick, look up and at the horizon and it's better for your brain and stomach. Try playing games with her, especially "I Spy" and licence plate spotting games that make her look outside the car (these will also distract her from thinking about "Oh, no, I'm in a car, I always get sick in a car" -- with some kids, if they think they will be sick, they WILL be sick).
--Do try the wrist bands etc. that target pressure points. These work well for some adults I know and not at all for others but are non-medicated and worth a try.
--Stop more frequently so she can get out, walk around, etc. It is not as convenient, naturally, but may help. Good luck and try to do without the drugs if you can.

Benedryl is a sedative, so they won't notice the motion, you don't get car sick when you're asleep. If you have to travel and you know she'll get sick, then you can try this, but realize what you're doing is semi-sedating them. Good luck!!

Hi Lynn,
I have a 7 year old who gets car sick, never heard of benadryl for it. We find that opening a car window near him helps, not giving him sweets near drive time or in the car helps. Also, just in case we carry gallon size ziplocs with a paper towel in each one as a last resort.

Good luck!

Hi Lynn,
My pediatrician recommended the same thing for my daughter, who is also 3. It seemed with her that whenever we went a certain way to go to my grandparents, she was getting sick. The last time it happened we didn't make it more than 30 minutes away from home and had to stop 5 or 6 times to clean her up. Finally, we found a place to stop and get her something to eat and she was fine the rest of the way. The last trip we took, we made sure that she had eaten something before we left and we had plenty of crackers for her to munch on before we stopped for dinner. I think the idea behind recommending benedryl is to make them a little sleepy. I didn't like that idea at all. I mean I like listening to my little sing and talk during a trip.

One thing that I have done with my older kids is to give them a half of a dramamine tablet. It is for motion sickness. We used it for the older two whenever we were going out on my parents boat to avoid sea sickness and it worked.

Hi Lynn, my name is A. and I have three darling daughters and the two oldest which are now 7 and 5 used to get car sick all the time. It is the most horrible thing, I feel your pain....between the clothes, the carseat, and their freaking out! I don't know what was the worst. Benedryl works!!! Use it and don't feel bad, I would dose my kids about a half hour to hour before we left for those long car rides and it makes them sleepy and your ride is peaceful and puke free..lol! Also, don't let her look at books or anything like that on the ride, it always made it worse...doesn't matter if they can read or not, it messes with their focus and it's not good. Eyes up is better than eyes down, I noticed when I got a tv in the car, it happened less also. Good luck!

Have you tried Emetrol? It's available over the counter. It's a medicine for motion sickness. When I was pregnant and had terrible morning sickness my doctor suggested it along with vitamin B. I think it's for children but check with the pharmacist for dosage.

Never heard of Benedryl for that purpose. I know it knocks some kids out so maybe he's thinking if she is sleeping she won't get sick?


I've never heard of Benedryl for motion sickness. However; this summer my 4 year old daughter got motion sickness on our way to visit Grandma. I called Grandma and Grandma checked with her pharmacist and was advised to get childrens' dramamine. I bought it at a gas station mid-route and my daughter didn't get sick the rest of the trip! Good luck!

Hi,my daughter is 16 now, but until she was about 12 she lived off of benedryl for motion sickness. When she was about Six month old I noticed that when I had to drive her over long distances, she would get sick. We had some miserable trips in the beginning. Benedryl saved us. Good luck, I hope she outgrows it quickly.

Two of my younger sisters used to get sick in the car a lot. So, before a car rider, they were not allowed to drink milk and that helped. Also if you can keep her distracted, like playing games, for which she has to look out of the windows- reading makes even me feel sick...
Benadryl might actually work, but I never tried, so I don't know.
Good luck!

OUr pharmacist told us that the Dramamine is made of similar ingredients as Benadryl. My son also gets terribly carsick, usually after only 10-15 minutes or so so dramamine is wonderful. I haven't tried Benadryl for motion sickness due to the fact that it has the opposite affect on my son, it makes him way too hyper instead of putting him to sleep. His Dr said that some medicines do have opposite effects on some people. Lifesaver mints helped my son a lot, as well as bananas. He was able to keep it together for almost 3 hours with the mints and the bananas and no dramamine. try and make sure that shes not too full or her stomach is not totally empty. Good luck with it. If not ziploc gallon baggies are great as it locks everything in so once she vomits just seal it up and toss.

Hi Lynn,
I don't know if that works or not but if you get any answers can you forward them on to me. We have the same problem with my 3 year old son. We just open his window a bit and make him wear a bib with the cuff that snaps on the bottom. He just gets sick in there and then we take it off and dump it. Please let me know if you find anything that works. Our son is slowly growing out of it.
Good Luck,

I used to get really car sick as a child... I know this is not much help for the present but, I grew out of it. Hopefully your child will do the same.

Bendadryl will probably make her sleepy. I have never used it for motion sickness, only for allergics. Try checking out their website.

Hope it works for her, my son is thirty and he still has motion sickness. Since he is older, he uses dramamine.

Hi Lynn,

I agree it would have been better for the doctor to explain why Benedryl. It's sad that we've been conditioned not to ask for clarification. But it's not too late to call the doctor's office and ask--get the explanation straight from the horse's mouth!

My best guess is that the Benadryl will clear sinus congestion that may be affecting her inner ears, which is where our sense of balance comes from.


I know you don't want to sedate your kid, but you might have to choose between "evils". I'd rather be asleep, not miserable and throwing up. Someone else said keeping the car cool will help; speaking as a kid who got sick in the car (and planes and everything else that moved) I can confirm this! Don't crank the heat, open a window, even just breathing cool air should help.

Medicine is there for a reason. You know, I think I'll consult my holistic friend and see if she knows any natural ways to do this. Meds should be used when they're needed, but I agree you shouldn't over medicate / use it as a crutch.

Still, if you have choice between barf and Benedryl - Benedryl tastes a lot better!


And here's my friend's response...

A natural remedy is ginger pills. If she can crush them up into some juice for the kid to drink before traveling, it should work. Ginger was used successfully to treat motion sickness on Myth Busters even! Read the bottle for uder 12 dosing. Shouldn't need much, but it works like a charm and she won't have to does her kid with Benedryl (I'm suprised the doc is recommending that in the face of so many other docs warning against unnecessary over-the-counter drug use - I wouldn't do it unless it was a severe issue).

My daughter suffers from the same thing, although it is worse if she eats just before we leave or in the car. You could try the motion sickness wrist bands you can buy in the drugstores. We haven't tried the Benadryl route. We give my daughter Dramamine sometimes, but she is 8 now and I don't know at what age it is safe to give them Dramamine. Also, if you have a van, try sitting her as close to the front as you can rather than in the back, and try to have her sit up higher if possible (maybe a couple of towels on top of the booster seat. If a window can be opened a bit and blow on her, that might help as well.

Hi, Lynn - We tried Benedryl for seasickness; it didn't work, so we then went to Dramamine. You can check with your pediatrician on this, dosing, etc. Good luck! N.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.