Mazda survey finds parents' biggest travel fear — Carsick kids

(November 15, 2023) IRVINE, Calif. — As the holidays approach, many families across the country are gearing up to travel, and a majority of them will be taking a road trip. A new survey* from Mazda North American Operations found 85% of parents or caregivers plan to travel via vehicle this year. For parents with three to four children, the likelihood of traveling by vehicle jumps to 93%.

With many taking to the road this holiday season, Mazda sought to understand the biggest challenges families face. When traveling with children, more than 3 in 5 respondents (61%) say they worry about a child getting carsick. This concern is valid given nearly half (48%) of respondents have experienced a sick kid in their vehicle.

To help parents prevent and treat carsick kids this holiday travel season, Mazda is partnering with Dr. Mona Amin, board-certified general pediatrician, certified lactation consultant, parenting coach, mother and influencer. Dr. Amin has developed tips for parents to address carsickness.

"Parents and kids alike come into my office all the time with questions about how they can treat symptoms of nausea particularly when riding in the second-and-third rows of a vehicle or on longer, bumpy rides," said Dr. Amin. "Motion sickness happens when your brain receives conflicting information from the inner ears, eyes and nerves – essentially your body cannot infer whether it is in motion or not – resulting in a queasy feeling. There are many ways to alleviate carsickness symptoms and often you can start by taking advantage of features within the vehicle, especially a Mazda CX-90."

Dr. Amin's tips for treating and preventing carsickness include:

    •    Increasing airflow: Fresh air and keeping the vehicle at a cooler temperature can help alleviate symptoms of nausea as it counteracts the natural effort to raise the body's temperature. Nearly all (87%) of Mazda survey respondents said fresh air flow and keeping the vehicle at a cooler temperature via third-row vents, or open windows helps with carsickness symptoms.

    •    Look at the horizon or distant, stationary object: Looking straight ahead can reduce the inter-sensory conflict that causes motion sickness. To encourage children riding in the back to look ahead or play "I Spy" by picking objects in the distance. 76% of survey respondents agree that looking ahead helps treat carsickness, while 66% respondents claim gaze fixation as a successful remedy.

    •    Avoid reading or looking at screens: Reading or looking at screens can increase confusion between our visual cues and the inner ear's sense of movement. Instead of screen time, consider an audio book or music to keep your backseat passengers entertained. In fact, three quarters of survey respondents said minimizing screen time helps to aid carsickness.

Beyond minimizing carsickness, seating flexibility and convenience are important factors to keep in mind on family road trips. In fact, when it comes to deciding who sits where, the third row is often a point of contention as 40% of parents say their children fight over who sits in the last row.