A Family Approach to Photos
Your Photo Albums:

Edit Albums
Upload New Pictures
Infant - Month #1 to Toddler - Month #12

Get Weekly Updates on your Child E-Mailed to You
Complete Privacy - Your information will be used by edHelperBaby only and will never be shared with another company.

  Enter your E-MAIL ADDRESS:  

How Do I Help My Child Like His Car Seat?

By Lynn Shear, edHelperBaby

How Do I Help My Child Like His Car Seat?
           It is vitally important that babies are always restrained in car seats while in moving vehicles.  While parents know this, the squirming, screaming, crying ball of anger that is a baby refusing to be buckled into that $200 car seat is enough to either make a parent stay home or just hold him while the other parent drives.  Neither of these options is a good choice.  There are ways to help your child survive and perhaps even come to like outings.  One day, you might even enjoy leisurely car trips again (but save the really long ones until baby is a bit older, for both your sakes).

       There are those children that find the gentle hum of a car motor to be soothing, drifting off to sleep the minute they settle into the car seat.  There are others that find the hum of the car motor to be a threat only slightly less dangerous than the roar of a tiger and refuse to calmly get near a car seat, much less settle into one for a ride.  My own baby goes back and forth on this scale, making every venture down the road exciting in its unpredictability.  As she has gotten older, we have developed some tricks for getting errands done without hearing the shrill sound of her desperate cries to get out of the car seat, NOW!

       As you know by now, a parent must have a large repertoire of strategies to pull from everyday in order to keep baby happy and life running on an even keel.  This is also true when it comes to helping baby stay calm in the car.  There are usually a variety of reasons why a baby might cry in the car seat, and, therefore, there must be a variety of methods of dealing with the crying.

       The first thing to always check is the comfort level.  Are there any straps that are uncomfortable for your baby?  Make sure that they are all straight and lying flat with no twisted areas that can cause irritation.  When choosing a car seat, pick one with enough cushion to create a comfortable ride.  With my first daughter, we went through three different car seats before I found one that she would consistently ride in, and it was substantially more padded than the first two.  On the same note, pick a seat with a soft cover.  Leather can get hot and sticky and some other fabrics are rough.  Pick a cover that you would want to sleep on since the hope is that your baby will be able to sleep in the car if necessary.  Cover the seat's buckles on sunny days so they do not get hot enough to burn your baby.  Also check to ensure that the air conditioning or heat is not blowing directly on him but that the temperature is comfortable.  I usually start the car before buckling my child into her seat so that the air is already blowing to help it cool down or warm up faster.  (If you do this, be careful not to leave baby unattended.)

       If comfort is not the issue, then try to determine if there is another need that is not being met while your child is in the car.  I learned quickly to only attempt errands immediately after feeding my baby.  Any other time and she saw the car seat as a separation from her food source that she was not going to tolerate.  My baby also does not want to feel alone, so making sure that her sister talks to her and plays with her in the car helps tremendously.  For the times when there is no one to sit and play in the backseat, try posting a mirror or pictures of people for your baby to look at and talk to on the back of his seat, facing him.

       Distraction is the number one tool of parents for any number of problems, and this one is no different.  Distract your baby's attention from the dreaded car seat with toys, songs, and/or snacks.  Choose a few toys and keep them only in the car to provide incentive for getting into the car seat.  Hang a rattle from the car seat handle or buy a busy box that attaches to the back of the car seat so the baby can make it light up or make noises with his feet.  Pay a neighborhood kid to ride to the store with you and shake a rattle for your baby in the backseat (just kidding).  Keep children's songwriters in business by purchasing a large variety of kids' CDs and play them in the car, or learn a repertoire of catchy rhymes and sing for your baby while you drive.  Make a game of getting into the car seat by playing peek-a-boo while you buckle the baby in - using a sing-song voice, say, "Where's baby's _____(arm, leg, foot, hand)?" Hide each body part as you say it, then uncover it as you get it to where it needs to be in the seat.  Once your child is old enough, a few Cheerios can help him to make it until you get to the grocery store and back.  (Just be prepared to still find Cheerios when he's fifteen.)

       Another trick to try is bringing the car seat into the house and letting the baby play with it.  You can buckle a doll into the seat and let your baby see that the doll emerges just fine.  The more familiar your child becomes with the car seat, the less he will see it as distressing.

       To help make every trip easier, try to figure out if there is a particular time of day that works better than others and attempt to schedule outings during that time.  For example, I have discovered that my child hates to ride in the dark.  Therefore, no last-minute trips to the store can be made after nightfall.  We usually make our trips right after breakfast.  Our bellies are full, our bodies are rested, and we can get out of the house and enjoy some time together.  However, if I break this rule and decide to chance a trip to Target at 7:00 P.M., I pay dearly with ear-piercing screams and huge amounts of mommy guilt.  It's just easier not to.

       I hope that these tips help your child learn to tolerate his car seat so you can survive the drive.  Remember, as with most things, this too will pass.  My three-year-old now rides beautifully in her car seat (as long as there's music, and snacks, and someone to talk to....)


Ask Your Own Question

Ask a Question

Give a Suggestion     Contact edHelperBaby
Note: All information on edHelperBaby is of a general nature for educational purposes only.
For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
Your use of this site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.