I had my then 1 year old twins pack in the car, on our way home from a doctor's appointment and suddenly L2 puked all over himself. It was the oddest thing. I didn't know what to make of it, so I cleaned him up the best I could and finished the drive home. A few weeks later, it happened again. I noticed it was happening more frequently, about every other car ride. Then it was every car ride that lasted more than 10 minutes. Finally I came to the conclusion that my poor baby had motion sickness.
I called his doctor and asked what I could give L2 to help him deal with this since we went out to frequent appointments (specialists from their premature birth). I was very disappointed to learn that there was nothing I could give him at such a young age. He couldn't take anything until he was 2 years old. Hearing this made me feel sick.
This meant two things:
1. I'd have to keep him home as much as possible to avoid the situation altogether. This severely limited our social life (with friends and family) and our activities with the boys such as the zoo, aquarium, carnivals, etc.
2. When we absolutely had to drive anywhere, it meant that my poor baby had to feel sick to the point of vomiting on himself. It broke my heart.
When we had to drive somewhere, making him sick, it was always such a nightmare. We'd count down till he got sick. The aftermath was so disgusting. His clothes would be all wet and dirty, his carseat would get destroyed, with bits and pieces stuck in the cracks and crevices of the seat and belt clips. Then he and the car would stink of vomit. We eventually learned to bring a change of clothes and try to cover him with a blanket to "catch" the mess, but that wasn't very effective. One time when he vomited, it was so thick, he began to choke on it and we had to pull over and unstrap him as quickly as possible to get him out and beat his back to unblock his airway. It was horrible!
Eventually, he learned to communicate (sort of) by crying and pointing to his mouth. This gave us about 15 seconds to pull over and get him out before it happened. It wasn't always enough time. Then my poor baby learned to hold a bucket to catch his vomit. Around 2 years old, he knew when he was gonna be sick and how to catch it (mostly) in the bucket. Again, it broke my heart. It was also at this time that everything changed, finally.
At 2 years old, he was finally able to take something to control his car sickness. This is when the miracle drug Dramamine entered our lives. Finally we were free to roam again. We were no longer trapped at home, missing all the family events, summer activities and just the simplicity of going to the store as a family. It took a little time to learn how it worked, from how much advanced time we needed, to how long after the dose it lasted. Once in a while, he'd still get sick, but overall it was like night and day. Plus, he always has his trusty bucket right next to him in the car, just in case.
Other than the car sickness, we quickly learned that L2 was a puker in general. If he bounced around too much after he ate, he'd get sick. If he was crying too much, or if he fell too hard and got hurt, he'd get sick. Compared to his twin brother, who had the same activity level, he was definitely more sensitive. Can you imagine how hard it is to tell a young child not to play or jump around after eating so he doesn't get sick? Especially when he's trying to keep up with is brother. It's sad.
Now at 4 1/2 years old, we are still dealing with the motion sickness, but we seem to have a better handle on it. I know exactly how far I can drive without having to medicate him first. I also know when he needs to settle down after a meal to digest a little. He's even learned enough to go in the bathroom on his own when he feels sick. Usually he makes it. Sometimes he doesn't. Oh well. That's life with a puker.
I've learned that vinegar is the best thing to use to remove the vomit odor from fabrics and carpets. The vinegar stink disappears after about 30 minutes and the vomit stink goes with it. I also add a cup full to all of my laundry to prevent the odor from sticking to everything. For the car rides, I use a small beach pail. It fits nicely in the cup holder next to him and is big enough to catch the mess. I also keep a large bottle of water and a roll of paper towels in the car for rinsing the bucket afterwards and cleaning up any spills. By this age, he can also give me advanced warning when he's feeling sick so I have more time to prepare and try to prevent it.
The doctor said he'll outgrow this, but I still get motion sickness, so I don't expect it to pass for him either. The few times we forget to medicate him before a trip, he knows enough to remind us. At least we all know how to deal with it now.