7 Sensory Strategies for Riding in a Car
Sensory Processing is the ability to use our senses to interact and respond to the world
around us. A properly functioning sensory system is essential because it keeps our body safe in
this world. In total, we have 8 different ways that we process sensory information. They include:
auditory, tactile, vision, gustatory (taste), olfactory (smell), proprioception, vestibular, and
Riding in a car can be very stressful to the nervous system because we have multiple sensory
systems working together. This causes miscommunication between the sensory systems. And in
turn, can cause our sensory system to become dysregulated.
Sometimes giving the body more sensory input, before or during the car
ride, may help to put the body in a more relaxed state. If your child has a difficult time riding in a
car, try some of these strategies for your next car ride.
● Make sure the child’s feet are touching something (i.e. box, foot stool, etc). This will
allow the body to be grounded, instead of hanging. This can also make the body feel
● A weighted lap pad may help to create a calming sensation and help the body feel
● Sunglasses may reduce the intensity of the cars, buildings and trees you drive past.
● Noise canceling headphones or music may reduce all of the noise, inside and outside
of the car.
● Fidget boxes/bins placed in the middle seat may provide a distraction and promote a
● Try a calming routine, like deep breathing, yoga, and slow swinging before getting into
the car. This can put the body at a more relaxed state.
● Have a backseat buddy, or someone to sit in the backseat to help the child feel safe.