Your baby hates the car seat. It’s a nightmare that you’re trapped in. Unfortunately, there are places to go and that involves your little one being strapped into a car seat. Time waits for no man or baby.
If every drive triggers a non-stop bout of crying, try some of these tips to see if you can create a more peaceful car ride for everyone.
What to Do to Teach Your Baby to Love the Car Seat
- What to Do to Teach Your Baby to Love the Car Seat
- 1. Get the Car Seat Out of the Car
- 2. Picture Yourself
- 3. Hang a Mirror
- 4. Do Short Trial Runs
- 5. Check with the Doctor
- What to Do When Your Baby Cries or Screams While You’re Driving
- 1. Play Some Music
- 2. Open a Window
- 3. Take a Back Road
- 4. Stop the Car
- What to Do When Your Toddler Hates the Car Seat
- 1. Offer Refreshments
- 2. Have Toys Available
- 3. Check the Limits on the Car Seat
- 4. Check with the Doctor
- Baby Hates Car Seat at 8 Months?
- Baby Hates Car Seat at 10 Months?
- Baby Car Rides Don’t Have to Be Awful!
Before opening another car door, prepare for success with some small ways you can make the car and the car seat more comfortable for your baby.
1. Get the Car Seat Out of the Car
When the car seat is only associated with a two-ton vehicle, it might be overwhelming. Take the car seat out of the car and bring it inside. Here, your baby can familiarize himself or herself with the seat outside of the car.
With the car seat in your home, encourage your baby to explore and play on and around the seat. Try to keep the seat a familiar fixture in the home when you aren’t driving.
One word of caution: if your baby would happen to fall asleep in the car seat indoors, you may find yourself tempted to let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak. This can, sadly, lead to positional asphyxia and death. Always move your baby to a safe sleep surface.
2. Picture Yourself
I hope you’ve gotten in some selfie practice since your baby arrived because it’s time to take an important one. Since infant car seats are rear-facing, your baby is strapped in and unable to see their source of protection: you.
To ease your baby’s anxiety, print out a smiling selfie of you looking as reassuring as possible. Tape it to the seat in front of your baby’s field of vision so they are comforted by your face the entire ride.
3. Hang a Mirror
Mirrors are great for rear-facing seats since it allows you to see your baby from the front seat. Beyond that, it gives your baby something to look at.
Babies love looking at themselves. I don’t blame them; they are adorable. They don’t often get a chance to take a good look, so a mirror in the car may be just the ticket for a calm ride.
4. Do Short Trial Runs
When you have a baby with a vendetta against the car seat, that is not the time to embark on a two-hour trip to grandma’s house. Instead of marathon drives, allow your baby to warm up to the idea of driving with short practice runs.
While it may be silly, try to take regular drives down the road and back. Take this time to familiarize yourself with your neighborhood as you take brief five to 10-minute drives.
Gradually, when you and your baby feel comfortable, start to increase the length of the drives. Yes, now you can go ahead and venture out of your neighborhood! If baby resists, try reverting back to short drives for a while.
5. Check with the Doctor
In the end, your baby’s car troubles may not be related to the car seat at all. Consider your baby’s recent behavior outside of the car. Maybe your little one has been particularly fussy lately.
If you’re concerned there is a deeper issue, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to make sure everything is alright. An ear infection, reflux, or even gas issues could cause your child discomfort while in (and out) of the car seat.
What to Do When Your Baby Cries or Screams While You’re Driving
Despite the best of intentions and the most diligent of preparations, you may still find yourself dealing with ear-piercing screams from the backseat as you drive. While already in motion, what can you do to soothe a crying baby?
1. Play Some Music
I cannot tell you how many times a rousing rendition of “Baby Shark” calmed my son down in the car. Sometimes, I could get my passenger to queue it up on their phone, but oftentimes, I was left belting out the lyrics myself. Doo doo doo!
As it turns out, the combination of a familiar song and my voice was the perfect combination to quiet my son’s cries. In a pinch, you can always start singing your baby’s favorite tune. If you’d rather, you can prepare a playlist of your baby’s top hits.
2. Open a Window
Sometimes, we could all use some fresh air. Stuck in the back seat, your baby may feel warm or stuffy. If the crying begins, try rolling down a window or two.
A refreshing breeze may settle your baby right down. If sunshades are a hindrance to opening windows, try a mesh sunshade that slides over the window, like this.
3. Take a Back Road
During a car ride, a lot of stops and starts may be the source of your baby’s frustrations. Unfortunately, you can’t exactly bypass street lights, unless you take the so-called scenic route.
If timing allows, switch to a back road. Worst case scenario, you get to enjoy some scenery. Best case scenario, the uninterrupted ride lulls your baby to sleep. Win!
4. Stop the Car
Of course, stopping the car isn’t a possibility in every situation. However, if nothing else can soothe your baby, and you can safely stop the car, you should pull over and get to your baby.
Remember, this entire world is brand new to your baby, and it might feel scary at times. If your baby is totally overwhelmed, nothing but you will do.
What to Do When Your Toddler Hates the Car Seat
There are major differences between babies and toddlers, as we all know. Babies can’t communicate much beyond crying, but toddlers have the beginning foundations of speech to rely on. Surely, toddlers can be reasoned with when babies cannot.
I know, I didn’t believe that last sentence when I read it either! Toddlers, with their limited speech development, may have a hard time expresses why they are upset in the car. Whether your toddler has hated the car seat since day one, or it is a new development, here are some tips to make the car fun.
1. Offer Refreshments
Wouldn’t we all be happier if someone offered us a drink or a snack? If your toddler’s car seat is front-facing and upright, let them have a sippy cup or a bag of Cheez-Its for the drive.
As you can imagine, this isn’t the time to try adventurous or new foods. Stick the favorites!
2. Have Toys Available
Before starting any ride, have a small selection of toys on hand for your toddler to play with. It’s best to stick with simpler toys. Don’t let your toddler bring in that train set with 54 small parts!
If you aren’t opposed to screentime, a tablet could be your savior. It doesn’t have to even be in your child’s hands if you use a tablet or iPad holder.
3. Check the Limits on the Car Seat
When’s the last time you reviewed your car seat’s weight and height limitations? What the last time you adjusted the seat’s head supports for a growth spurt?
Your toddler may not know how to express it, but he or she may be uncomfortable because the car seat needs to be adjusted for them.
4. Check with the Doctor
As with babies, your toddler’s car seat hate could be an unrelated issue. Call your pediatrician or schedule an office visit to make sure your toddler isn’t battling an ear infection or other medical issue.
Baby Hates Car Seat at 8 Months?
This car seat hatred may be a seemingly overnight problem. One day your baby tolerates the car seat just fine, and the next, it’s a scream fest the entire drive. What’s the deal?
Believe it or not, this is normal in terms of your baby’s development. Around six to eight months, babies start crawling, gaining a bit of freedom and independence. Once you buckle them up into a car seat, they feel confined and are eager to break free.
With any luck, this phase won’t last long. Until it ends, try the above tips and tricks to make car rides more enjoyable!
Baby Hates Car Seat at 10 Months?
Maybe you made it past the eight-month mark unscathed, but instead, your baby started the car seat battle at 10 months.
Why would a baby suddenly hate the car seat so close to the first-year mark? It could be the same issue discussed for babies hating the seat at 8 months. Some babies don’t crawl until 9 months, so your baby may be fighting for freedom at 10 months.
On the other hand, it could be the development of object permanence. Around 10 months, babies have really cemented the idea that even when they aren’t directly looking at an object, it still exists. Until this milestone, your child assumed when they couldn’t see you, you didn’t exist anymore! Trippy, right?
At 10 months, your baby is still in a rear-facing car seat, meaning they can’t see mommy or daddy driving. But now they know you’re still there! It’s a great time to install a mirror for your baby so they can watch you as you drive and be comforted by your presence.
Baby Car Rides Don’t Have to Be Awful!
If your baby or toddler hates the car seat, you’re in for some awful car rides. With a little bit of preparation though, you can make the ride better for everyone involved.
Has your little one dealt with car seat hatred? Let us know your experiences in the comments!