Do Babies Get Seasick on Cruises and Boats?

do babies get seasick on cruises

Seasickness is absolutely real and there should be no doubt about it. However, a simple question may arise if you plan to embark on a cruise with your loved ones. Do babies get seasick on cruises? The straightforward answer to this question is yes, but you did not click on this article just to know whether or not it is possible.

In this guide, we will walk you through a detailed explanation of seasickness, its related symptoms or telltale signs, and how to manage seasickness in babies and toddlers. If you would like to be more informed before taking that family cruise trip that would take several days to even months (if you were to travel around the world), then this guide is here to help.

What is Seasickness?

Seasickness shares common traits and characteristics with carsickness and airsickness. These three are actually different forms of motion sickness. The most common symptoms of motion illness are the following:

  • Cold sweats
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pale complexion
  • Hyperventilation
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Loss of coordination

Studies have shown that women and children from the ages of 2 years old to 12 years old are the most at risk, but motion sickness can happen to anyone.

Listed below are a few of the factors that may increase the likelihood of a person experiencing motion sickness:

  • Genetics
  • Ear disorders
  • History of migraines
  • Pregnancy
  • Hormonal imbalance

Babies and Toddlers Can Get Seasick on Cruises and Boats

Now that seasickness is established as motion sickness, it can now be said with certainty that it is possible for babies and toddlers to experience this unpleasant condition which may last the whole trip if not managed properly.

The major cause of motion sickness is the lack of coordination between the senses that indicate your position relative to the movement of the boat.

When you know you are assuming a stable position and yet constantly feel the back and forth motion of the ship, and the somewhat fixed position of objects around you, your senses are bound to send mixed signals to your brain which will lead to seasickness.

Although babies and toddlers might not have an accurate sense of awareness, seasickness can still occur, making it stressful not only for the baby or toddler but also for the parents. No parent would like to see their child have an unpleasant experience in any scenario.

The Major Causes of Seasickness in Babies and Toddlers

The major causes of seasickness in babies and toddlers are generally the same as their adult counterparts, so we find it more important to explain certain common scenarios that may lead to seasickness for your baby or toddler as listed below:

  • Your child focuses on a screen, tablet, or some other gadget up close and personal
  • Your baby is snuggled up tight in your arms and yet the ship constantly rocks back and forth
  • You and your baby are positioned on the upper floors of the cruise ship where the motion of the boat from waves are felt more
  • The baby or toddler is walking (or crawling) on the ship

All of the above mentioned examples involve a certain activity or action that may or may not require movement on the part of the baby or toddler but would nevertheless be in conflict with the motion and response of the cruise ship itself.

What this does is send confusing signals to the brain which causes unpleasant symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and fatigue among other common symptoms.

Ways to Prevent or Minimize Seasickness in Babies and Toddlers

There are several ways to prevent or minimize seasickness in babies and toddlers, but in this section, we list down the proven and effective methods as pronounced by studies and those who have experienced seasickness firsthand:

  • Try to avoid using gadgets or devices up close. This may also include books, magazines, and other non-electronic objects
  • Look at a distance, preferably a fixed point at a distance. This helps your brain process things steadily
  • Minimize movement whenever possible to eliminate conflicts with the movement of the cruise ship or boat
  • Make sure that the baby or toddler is hydrated and well-fed (but do not overfeed as this may lead to another gross complication should the child feel nauseous)
  • If possible, try to teach the baby or toddler to breathe deliberately by breathing slowly and deeply
  • Find ways to distract the baby or toddler by communicating with them or playing with them (be sure that the game does not require intense movements)
  • Find the best place to stay in our guide on where to stay on a cruise ship to avoid seasickness

Tips to Manage Babies and Toddlers Suffering from Seasickness

There are several ways to manage seasickness when it comes to adults simply because it is easier for the adult to communicate the symptoms and feelings he or she is experiencing.

However, with babies and toddlers, the challenge lies in identifying the problem without a proper means of communication.

Listed below are a few tips to combat seasickness in babies and toddlers:

Nip It In the Bud

In order to defeat seasickness in babies and toddlers, you have to assess and solve the problem as soon as possible. There is no point in waiting out seasickness or trying to ignore the symptoms that are visible.

Find Key Indicators that Serve as a Prelude to Seasickness

Make sure to be aware of your baby’s habits and tendencies (otherwise known as the baseline). This will be your key indicator of whether or not your child is suffering from something that is out of the blue or uncommon. If you notice discomfort in the eyes of your toddler or hear some squeals or whines that do not seem regular, then the symptoms of seasickness may already be creeping up on him or her.

Be Informed and Educated About Seasickness in General

You are not required to have expert-level knowledge on seasickness or motion sickness, but it does help to be well-informed on the matter, especially when it comes to finding ways to identify and alleviate the symptoms brought about by this condition.

This comprehensive guide is a good start, but we would still recommend you to do a little bit more research just so you have a better perspective of what to expect from and how to handle seasickness.

Do Not Be Too Worried

Finally, here is a tip that you have to hear, especially if you are a first-time parent. You do not have to be overly anxious, stressed out, or worried when seasickness is experienced by your baby or toddler. It is a completely acceptable condition that is, more often than not, beyond your control. It would also not help if your baby feels the stress that you are having and would ultimately lead to a worse experience for the family as a whole.

Try to stay level-headed and methodical in your approach to solving seasickness in babies and toddlers. Do not lose your cool or panic too much. It is not a life or death situation and as long as you know what to do and how to manage seasickness, you and your baby will be alright (see: can seasickness kill you?).

Helpful Tools to Give or Administer to Seasick Babies and Toddlers

There are several over-the-counter medications that you can give to your baby or toddler to reduce both the frequency and intensity of seasickness (and motion sickness in general).

However, we would still like to make a disclaimer that although we have these products as recommendations for your baby or toddler to combat seasickness, it would still be ideal to consult with your doctor (pediatrician or physician) before giving these to your baby.

1. Dramamine Motion Sickness (for Kids)

dramamine motion sickness chewable for kids

Dramamine is one of the leading medications used to alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness.

This medication provides quick-acting and powerful relief from nausea, dizziness, and vomiting.

It can be used on the spot and can also be taken a few minutes before a lengthy trip.

claritin for kids syrup

Children’s Claritin is one of the most recommended medications that are administered to relieve kids from the symptoms of allergies.

It can also perform as a treatment for motion sickness as antihistamines such as this are proven to combat or reduce effects such as dizziness and nausea.

To prevent the escalation of uncomfortable and stressful symptoms for your baby or toddler, this medication should prove to be very helpful as a preventive and reactive tool.

queasy drops for babies with seasickness

If you are looking to eliminate nausea and settle an unsettled stomach, Queasy Drops is a tried and tested, doctor-recommended lozenge that comes in several different flavors.

This is good for choosy kids who want to pair their sweet tooth with natural remedies to nausea and other symptoms of motion sickness.

It is also very compact and convenient to bring along during trips so make sure to take a look at this product before boarding a cruise ship.

sea-band anti-nausea acupressure wristband for kids

If you are trying to find a non-oral solution to your child’s possible seasickness woes, the Sea-Band Anti-Nausea Acupressure Wristband should do just the trick.

This product relies on acupressure, which is a clinically proven method of reliving the likes of morning sickness, nausea, and most importantly in our case, motion sickness.

How it works is that there is a plastic knob that is integrated into the band. Simply position the band and the knob in the right location around your wrist (as provided by the instructions) and this will help reduce the likelihood of your baby or toddler exhibiting symptoms of seasickness.


Hopefully, once you have reached this point, you are now well aware of the answer and solution to the question, “do babies get seasick on cruises?” If you need more helpful information and additional solutions, do check out other reputable websites. However, if you are pressed for time, then this guide should be more than enough for you to handle seasickness like a pro!

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