If you are one of those parents whose baby falls asleep immediately they enter the car, then, consider yourself more than lucky. Most kids are actually quite fussy when it comes to car seats.
Trying to drive when your baby is pulling a temper tantrum and most probably screaming her heart out is extremely challenging, and it is essential to put your safety and that of your baby first before anything else.
It is dangerous to drive around with a crying baby, and you are advised not to get him out of the car seat no matter what. Making bad decisions when the baby is crying may put everyone’s life in danger.
You should either pull over if the baby is becoming unmanageable so you can try to soothe him, or keep driving and try to focus on your destination.
The good news is that there are a few tricks you can employ to help your child love the car seat. Here are a few examples;
This is the first and most important point. If in case your baby used to love being in the car seat, and then all of a sudden, they do not; then, it is essential for them to get checked. They could probably be having an ear infection, and you just don’t know it, or they could be suffering from another health condition that is making him fussy and irritable.
Establish some familiarity
This suggestion is a bit out there, but it is one that can go a long way in making your child comfortable in the car seat. Here is what you can do; bring the car seat into the house, and have your baby sit on it while on the sofa.
What this will do is help in making him more familiar with it, such that when you need him to use it while driving, he will already be familiar with it and it will not be such a big deal for him.
Have some entertainment
You can choose some toys that your baby will use specifically while in the car and on the car seat. These should be safe car toys such as foam blocks or furry friends. The trick is to make them as interesting as possible, so they can hold the baby’s attention during the trip.
Do not use hard toys as they may cause accidents during a quick stop.
You could also tape some toys in the back of the car and in the direction that the baby will be facing so he can be looking at them while you drive. This could include an array of lightweight toys that can hang on the ceiling using yarn of heavy tape.
Place these just an arm’s length from the baby, so he can be able to bat at them from the car seat. Again, do not use hard toys as they could hurt the baby when you come to a stop.
Buy a good quality car seat
Could it be that the car seat you have is not of good quality and the baby is actually uncomfortable in it? You need to investigate this so you are assured that the baby is not in distress.
A good car seat you can invest in is the Safety 1st Grow and Go, which is safe, comfortable and long lasting. It will go a long way in helping your little one enjoy even the longest car rides, and keep him happy and still.
You can use your baby’s favorite music while in the car so you can keep his mind on the music and off the car seat. This is a distraction technique that almost always works. Be keen however not to bore your baby, every now and then, change things up and use different music so he can be entertained at all times.
Most parents actually claim that their babies fall asleep the minute they hear their favorite music. Others claim that the music will actually soothe a fussy child and cause them to calm down immediately.
If this is new to you, you can try playing some “white noise” music in the car. Kids will mostly be comforted by a noise that mimics noise in utero. Purchase CD’s with calming sounds from nature, or you could even make a recording of some noises in the house.
Take baby steps
Take time to familiarize your child to the car. You could start small, say, take short drives in the car just you and the baby and let him become familiar with being in the car, and most importantly in the car seat. As time goes by, you will realize that it doesn’t bother him anymore being in the car seat.
You could also opt to have someone familiar to the baby seat with him in the car, such as his sister or brother or a trusted caretaker, as they will be able to keep the baby both distracted and entertained.
Use a teething toy or pacifier.
Using one of these small toys which the baby can either chew or suck will go a long way in keeping calm while in the car.
Remember he probably needs some attention and this is why he is cranky and pulling a tantrum. The pacifier or teething toy will help in distracting him and calming him down, especially if he is used to them and he loves how they feel.
Hang a mirror in the car
The baby could be reacting to the fact that he cannot see you. If you hang a mirror in the car in a way that he can be able to see you and know that you are nearby can go a long way in keeping him calm.
There are some baby stores that will sell you these kinds of mirrors that are made for this specific purpose. Seeing you as you drive, will help him get rid of his separation anxiety and actually relax. In fact, during traffic stops you could sing him a lullaby and look at him directly to make him squeal with joy.
Take regular breaks as you drive
This will ultimately make you late to wherever you are going, and it may just be delaying the inevitable – putting the baby back in the car seat, but it can go a long way in helping you cope with a fussy child. If you are mid-way through your journey and the baby is crying, you can stop for a short while and feed him, or soothe him to sleep, then continue on your journey.
Check your baby’s comfort:
Now, if all else fails, take time to check the following;
- Is baby too hot?
- Is there too much sun directed on the baby’s side?
- Could the baby be too cold?
- Is baby sick?
Almost all parents have gone through this challenge at one point or the other, and what you need to realize is that your baby may despise the car seat for now, but it will get better. Just play around with his environment and try to understand him as much as possible. A baby will naturally react to any new thing that they are not used to, and unfortunately, they react negatively, so, do not be discouraged. Keep using the car seat and one day you will just find that he doesn’t fuss too much when in it.