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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising and Sailing with Children
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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.


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Old 07-28-2011
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7 Year Old Gets Sea Sick

I go sailing with my 7 year old boy and he always says he feels sick (sea sick I assume). He says it is the smell of the salt in the ocean that makes his stomach upset. Says when the waves hit the side of the boat the salt smell comes out of the water and makes him sick. I ask him why at the beach the smell does not bother him- he says the land takes the smell away. On one trip the seas where rough and wind very strong and he did throw up (along with my wife, me and the dog- everyone but the 4 year old girl- the deck was quite a mess). Since then I make sure to only take him on down wind runs on light air days with small seas to get him back into sailing. His interest has been turned off due to his "sea sickness".

I think it is mostly a mental thing now, but how can I get him to forget about his past bad sea sickness experience and want to go sailing?

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Old 07-28-2011
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I sympathize with your situation. My son has always suffered from motion sickness. Heck, he's 20 now and he can't even drive down a curvy canyon road without getting queezy. About an hour in a car is the max without a break. Took him sailing once & he would never go again.

Mike
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Old 07-28-2011
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True motion sickness is a condition of the inner ear, it is real and not something imagined. He may or may not grow to adapt to it.

However you and your crew may just have upset stomachs (sp), try and avoid foods that increase acid production; fried foods, animal fats, citrus juice,... and take some tums before leaving dock.
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Old 07-28-2011
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Long way to go but possible

Casey1999 said:
I think it is mostly a mental thing now, but how can I get him to forget about his past bad sea sickness experience and want to go sailing?

Dear Casey,
I understand your desire to raise his interest for sailing, but as he is obviously prone to seasickness this will take some time and a lot of efforts.

First of all, you could try out excursions to a lake. No sea smell, no waves. Row around with an inflatable, swim and dive in with him, let him have fun at the shore. Next time rent a small sailing boat for half an hour. Let him steer. Make him compliments doing so. If he likes it (and if you followed these advises the chances are good) next time rent the same boat for an hour. Doing this for a whole summer season will change his attitude towards water and boats in general.

Next step could be to visit a well protected bay at the coast with a nice shore to swim. Collect shells with him, let him feed seagulls, let him catch fishes, fry them at the campfire. Let him get used to the surroundings in a way he begins to love all this. If possible let him play around with a small rowing boat. Then continue same like before at the lake.

All this could take two summer seasons. At the end his first bad experiences will be covered (overlaid? sorry for my poor english) by newer and fresher positive rememberings about boats and the sea.

Next step - in the following summer season - could be to change location to a bigger bay area. Do all what you did before in this new surrounding. Rent a bigger sailing boat for some hours, start slowly. Make him proud of being able to handle the boat. If possible take along his friends. Choose the right moments and the right place for making first experiences with waves.

Continue this development. Donīt ever push him. In any stage he should have the feeling that he likes to do all this. It could take years, but at the end he might be the skipper who takes you out for sailing in your old days.

I used to take my own children to summer sailing cruises every year. It wasnīt much sailing though, but it was slowly intensifying their experiences and their love for boats and the sea.
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Old 07-29-2011
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What helped our kids are a motion sickness wristband and stocking the boat with ginger cookies and ginger ale. Seasickness is not something you can control through will alone.
Ginger helps, as does acupressure and staying on deck looking at the horizon. Can he see over the dodger/cabin while seated in the cockpit?
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Old 07-29-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mimsy View Post
What helped our kids are a motion sickness wristband and stocking the boat with ginger cookies and ginger ale. Seasickness is not something you can control through will alone.
Ginger helps, as does acupressure and staying on deck looking at the horizon. Can he see over the dodger/cabin while seated in the cockpit?
In cockpit while seated he cannot see over dodger. Really need to keep the dodger up as sailing is in Hawaii and off shore- otherwise wave spray will be intense. Dodger is very small. He can see out the sides ok and to the front around the dodger. I get him to stand when conditions permit so that he can see around and to horizon. He always wears harness and life jacket. I try to get him involved in the sailing as much as possible to get his mind off sea sickness thoughts. Sailing is usally pretty intense as winds here are normally 25 knots with seas at 6 foot minimum. I try to pick the best days for him and only fly a reefed down jib (no main) to reduce boat heel and speed. I will try the ginger. Also taking a friend might help.
Thanks for advice.
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Casey,

Ever watch Myth Busters? I love those guys and can't believe they get paid to do that stuff! I'd do it for free! Anyways, they did a whole show dedicated to motion sickness. Both the red headed kid with glassed and the oriental fellow were used as guinea pigs, because they are so affected by motion. They tried everything on the market. Most of it is absolute bunk, especially magnetic bracelets. The one thing that worked absolute wonders was ginger root, available in pill form from CVS, GNC, Walmart and the like, for a couple of bucks. Red, who blows just thinking about the motion sickness seat that they made (no really), took the ginger root, then sat in the seat for 5 minutes saying "bring it on!". Without it, 15 seconds and he's blowing chunks. I'm sold. We carry ginger root in the car and on the boat now.
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Old 07-29-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonScribner View Post
Casey,
Both the red headed kid with glassed and the oriental fellow were used as guinea pigs, because they are so affected by motion. They tried everything on the market. Most of it is absolute bunk, especially magnetic bracelets. The one thing that worked absolute wonders was ginger root, available in pill form from CVS, GNC, Walmart and the like, for a couple of bucks. Red, who blows just thinking about the motion sickness seat that they made (no really), took the ginger root, then sat in the seat for 5 minutes saying "bring it on!". Without it, 15 seconds and he's blowing chunks. I'm sold. We carry ginger root in the car and on the boat now.
Are reds heads and orientals (asians) more affected by motion? My kid is half asian. But I going to get some of that ginger root pill this weekend (along with ginger snaps and ginger tea) and give it a try- sounds good. I hope the boy does not OD on all the ginger I will give him. I will let you know what happens as we are going to sail next weekend.
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Old 07-29-2011
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casey, ginger has been researched and confirmed by NASA. Who also point out that something like 1/3 of the meds work for 1/3 of the sufferers 1/3 of the time, there's no universal cure for motion sickness.

Ginger is classed as a "rubefacient" something that makes your skin pink because it is expanding the capillaries. Which in turn increases capillary blood flow and oxygenation and the extra oxygenation is one mechanism to reduce motion sickness. That's why exposure to alcohol, carbon monoxide (tobacco smoke) and diesel fumes all seem to make motion sickness worse, they decrease oxygenation.

The salt smell...he's just seven, he doesn't know what's going on so he tries to rationalize it. There is some lavendar-and-whatever bogus potion that you are supposed to put behind your ears to reduce seasickness, and if part of this is in his head that might help as it indeed changes the smell and lavendar tends to be calming.

Wrist bands that push on the neh-kwan (sp?) point work for some people. And the electric wrist reliever works well enough to be FDA approved for morning sickness. That's probably the most effective non-drug solution other than taking up golf. But it does depend on being positioned very precisely, and then KEPT in position.

Giving him something to keep himself busy, pre-occupied, and eyes out of the boat, all will also help. Good luck!
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No, "red head" and "oriental" was the was the easiest way to ID my heroes.
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