Newborn babies are constantly crying, and it gets even tougher to deal with when you’re trying to navigate narrow roads along with the noise! Not only can a crying baby be annoying, but it can also be dangerously distracting. A car seat is a necessary addition when traveling with a child, but it can be a while before your baby gets used to spending time trapped in the seat.
That’s exactly why parents are constantly looking for tips and tricks to keep their babies entertained while they reach their destination. So what is the best solution? There are a few elusive ways to prevent your baby from having a total meltdown, that will keep them relaxed and distracted.
Reasons Why Your Baby Cries in the Car
Usually, it is normal for your baby to cry in the car seat. Especially, when the whole experience is still new and your child is still trying to get used to it. Babies are used to more freedom of movement and physical attention. Limited space combined with the lack of emotional and physical attention can make your child irritable. They may dislike being physically restricted or tied down. Moreover, if your baby cannot get a direct view of you while you’re driving it can make them extremely anxious.
If your child is uncomfortable, it can lead to incessant crying as well. Whether it’s too hot, too cold, the straps are too loose or too tight, or the seat is uncomfortable- all these factors can cause discomfort. Your baby might even be tired, sleepy, hungry, or just moody, which can cause the irritation to spill over in the form of tears.
No matter what the reason may be, there are some common guidelines you can maintain to prevent your child from crying and perpetually hating the car seat.
What to Do When Your Baby Hates the Car Seat
1. Make Sure the Baby is Healthy
If the irritable behavior of your child is not confined to the car seat, the car seat may not be the problem. If your baby is constantly crying or fussy, even at home it can be a sign of illness.
Crying is the only way babies can communicate, and constant crying may be a sign that a doctor’s visit is in order.
2. Make them Comfortable
The best way to make your baby love the car seat is by ensuring that it’s comfortable and convenient right from the beginning. Make sure that no obtrusive straps or buttons are poking your baby or coming in the way. Ensure that the car seat is fitted correctly and at a comfortable angle that is neither too upright nor too laid back.
Often car seats lack head cushioning that can be uncomfortable or have way too much cushioning that can be intrusive and block the baby’s view. Assess the amount of padding and protection that the seat provides, and try to opt for the one that has maximum comfort as well as safety.
3. Sing a Song
Research has always suggested that music provides a soothing atmosphere for kids, especially during car rides. Parents have always used music as a medium to calm and relax kids.
If your child has a favorite song, you can always play that too or you could also sing your song! Not only will that calm your baby but also relax your mind when dealing with a stressful situation.
Also read: Best Microphone for Kids in UK
4. Get Toys in the Car
You can always keep some safe and car-friendly toys in the car so that your baby can be occupied while you drive. You can also use some lightweight toys and attach them to the car ceiling using tape or yarn. Only use soft toys to ensure that your baby doesn’t get hurt in case the tape comes loose.
Moreover, if you are a parent that doesn’t permit any screen time at home, allowing your child to use the phone or iPad may serve as a compelling incentive to sit in the car seat. You can also use mirrors to provide the child with a view of you, which can prove to be extremely reassuring.
Car lights, toys, mirrors, and music should ideally be able to keep your child distracted and entertained.
5. Use Interesting Sunshades
Often children cry because the sun is hitting their eyes or the sun rays are heating the car seat. Invest in a good sunshade that will not only safeguard your baby from the sun’s UV rays but also ensure a comfortable and cool ambiance by blocking the sun.
Opt for a child-friendly sunshade that does not have any pieces that can get dislodged and harm the baby. Research well and buy the sunshade that your child feels the most receptive towards.
6. Don’t Stop When the Baby’s Asleep
Getting your baby to fall asleep can be a task, even more so if he or she hates the car seat. By chance, if you do manage to achieve this feat- do not stop driving! This is the only time you can drive stress-free and without any distractions. Try to choose a faster route that has less traffic and fewer red lights.
Moreover, before you go on a drive with your baby ensure that your gas is filled and your bladders empty! This way you won’t need to stop on the way and you can cover most of the distance while your baby catches up on its beauty sleep!
Recommended: Baby Crying in Sleep? Tips to Settle Baby at Night
7. Use a Pacifier or a Teething Toy
You can try to provide your baby with a pacifier or a teething toy. When he or she has something chee, they may just be happier!
Even if your baby is not really delighted using the toy- the pacifier or teether will still manage to successfully keep him or her engaged and distracted while you quickly reach your destination. Just make sure that the toy is safe for your child and doesn’t present a choking hazard!
8. Bring the Car Seat in the Front
Often it is the lack of human contact or human touch that makes the child distressed. You can solve this problem by moving the car seat to the front. By doing this, the child is in close proximity to you and can watch you, this serves as reassurance and comfort for the baby.
However, if you decide to move the seat to the front, ensure that the airbags are disabled and you are not too distracted.
9. Play White Noise in the Car
Research has proved that white noise can calm children. It may take a little research, experimenting, and trial and error but at the end of it, your child might enjoy listening to the repetitive sound of white noise. There are many CDs, YouTube videos, or online playlists that come loaded with white noise.
You can also open the window if your baby is fond of the wind. The breeze makes whooshing sounds that can serve as white noise. If your child has a special connection to a particular sound like your vacuum or washing machine- you can always record that and play it on loop whenever needed.
10. Bring the Car Seat in the House
The best way to get your baby acquainted with the car seat is by getting it into the house. Allow your child to play with it and sit in it, even at home. This way he or she will get more familiar with the car seat and become more open to sitting in the car seat even in the car.
With the increased familiarity, comes increased confidence and once your baby is comfortable in the car seat the location won’t matter.
All babies love unrestricted movement and free spaces where they can run around and play. No child enjoys being strapped down to a car seat. Moreover, the whole experience only becomes more stressful if the car seat is uncomfortable and inconvenient.
If your child hates the car seat, there’s most likely something that’s causing it. Try experimenting with different solutions. Use different types of toys, mirrors, sunshades, music, and pacifiers to keep them happy and entertained or even merely distracted. Also, ensure that the car seat is the right one for your baby’s age. If your child outgrows the seat, it may be too uncomfortable for him or her.
Lastly, if your child is persistently fussy and fretful there might be something irritating your child that is completely unrelated to the car seat. The best move in such a case is to visit a doctor, for an overall checkup at least! Hopefully, with the right amount of time, effort, energy, and maturity your baby will transform into a happy traveler and all your car seat woes will disappear into thin hair!
Laura is a trained primary teacher who takes a profound liking in interacting with and bringing out the best in children. She is also an ISSA certified pediatrician with an extensive practice of over 12 years. Laura comprehends the needs of infants and now compresses her expertise into writing thorough parenting guides to aid new parents.