No matter what way your traveling the odds are you or one of your family members has the tendency to get ever so slightly motion sick, and with that some unpleasant consequences that can make for a heck of a mess. My ordinarily iron stomached older son found his limitations twice, traveling down the winding roads through the mountains, and both times we where unprepared. After that second time, and with the possibility of more mountain roads ahead of us my wife and I decided it was time put something together to help limit the mess of car sickness, and if necessary always have the tools to clean it up.
We came to call this “The Car Sick Kit”. As unpleasant as the thought of having someone on your trip get sick in the car may be, its even more unpleasant to be completely unprepared. So even if your traveling with kids, or even all adults “The Car Sick Kit” may become one of your best travel buddies.
Here are some tips towards making your own.
First, try to prevent the mess. I don’t mean by traveling down flat and straight roads only but provide a car sick passenger with a way getting sick but not messy in case you can’t pull over. The airlines lovingly call them barf bags. But you can also call them grocery bags, try to keep a few plastic grocery bags (make sure to check them for annoying holes) in storage areas in for your back and front seat passenger, make sure the storage compartment makes access to the bags easy, and quick. By doing this you can contain the mess until you can get to an exit of some type, and you may be able to avoid using a lot of the other items in “The Car Sick Kit”. Just be sure to remember that this option is probably not good for smaller children since they may not have the reaction time to reach for the bag, and/or the use of a plastic bag like this may be dangerous for them.
The Kit Itself:
My wife and I opted to use a Kelty Camp Container to put the kit in. A Kelty Camp Container is a rectangular bag that can store a lot, but do to its shape and size takes up little space. You may want to consider using a container like this to keep the contents of you kit together, and easy to grab.
Picture of Kelty bag and kit
Drinking Water - The next item that is a must have to the kit is a gallon of drinking water. Now remember its always good to keep drinking water with you in your car, especially on cross country trips, but this water is to help clean up. You can use this bottle of water to help clean car seats and other areas, as well as the sick passenger, or anyone else he or she might have gotten. Keeping it to drinking water also allow the sick passenger to use some of it to drink or wash their mouth out with.
Paper Towels – Yes a roll of paper towels like you have in your kitchen. You’ll find out in a hurry restaurant napkins don’t go far. Paper towels get the mess cleaned up, and can even take a little bit of water without crumbling to pieces. Paper towels will make your clean up efforts a lot easier and they are also disposable.
Mouth Wash – Lets be honest if you passenger is old enough they aren’t going to dig being covered in vomit, they also aren’t going to be too happy with the taste in their mouths. Gum isn’t going to do the trick, and full out brushing teeth may not be within reason. Keeping a small bottle of mouth wash will allow your passenger to get a little more cleaner, and they can spit the mouth wash out on the ground if they need to. Mouth wash isn’t suggested for all ages, but there are mouth washes out there now for kids that adults will find pleasant too.
Deodorizing Spray – Perhaps you can get away with opening the windows, but if its too hot or too cold that option wont work, plus there is no promise open windows will get the odor out. This is why you may want to keep a small spray can of deodorizer. Companies such as Yankee Candle and Fabreeze make small spray cans perfect for this. I would suggest not using something overpowering like Oast, and also picking a scent that is clean smelling but not prone to getting your sick passenger sicker, or getting yourself and other passengers sick.
Fabric Cleaner – Yeah your going to want to get something on your seats right away to get that stuff off (assuming you have cloth seats). A fabric cleaner such as the afore mentioned Fabreeze works well in this roll. If you have leather seats you may want to see what the manufacturer suggest for caring for them in such an event.
More Plastic Bags – Plastic bags can be used to hold the dirty paper towels, and other garbage from what you cleaning up. If the passenger has the ability to change clothes they can also throw their dirty clothes into these bags for cleaning later. The plastic bags should to some degree be able to hold odors in, until you can get them out of your car.
Disinfecting Wipes – Clorox, Lysol, or generic your going to want a small tube of these in your kit. After the main mess is cleaned up these can help disinfect the areas your just cleaned, there are also great for cleaning up plastic and vinyl in the car as well as other items that may have gotten soiled.
Baby/Diaper Wipes - Theses are easy on the skin and great for removing stains from clothing. Baby wipes are great for helping freshen soiled adults as well as baby's, and can help a sick passenger or victim of one get skin and clothes clean until they can get changed elsewhere.
Old Towels – I wouldn’t suggest using cloth towels to clean up a car sickness mess, but they can be used in helping clean up your passenger(s), as well as being placed on the recently cleaned seat so your passenger(s) don’t have to sit in a wet spot. Having a few old wash clothes, hand towels, and maybe a bath towel may come in handy.
Anti- Bacterial Hand Sanitizer – In case your cleaning up no where near a bathroom your going to want to get hands clean any way you can. Hand Sanitizer is the best way of getting everyone hands clean without soap and water, a minimizing the potential of additional illness.
Here are a few additional items you may want to have in the event of car sickness, but should be kept outside the kit.
Ginger Ale – Or a 7up like beverage are also great for calming the stomach, it may help in preventing illness, or help a recently sick passenger feel better quicker.
Saltine Crackers – Or Ouster Crackers also help calm the stomach, used in conjunction with Ginger Ale or Lemon Lime soda it may help in preventing illness, or help a recently sick passenger recover quicker
*Pepto-Bismo – Or something like it, can help reduce additional nausea and additional illness. Remember this may not be appropriate for all ages.
*Dramamine or Motion Sickness Remedies– I’m not one for medicating my kids unnecessarily, and these remedies aren’t for younger children. But these remedies can help those who suffer from chronic motion sickness, it can also me used to help a recently sick passenger feel better, and get them in better shape for traveling, especially if the motion sickness persists after the initial illness.
*Please consult a doctor on use of these items for your kids, other family member or yourself. Chronic motion sickness may be a sign of other medical conditions.