You are driving somewhere, but your baby has been wailing non-stop in his car seat and you do not know what to do about it.
It is causing you stress as you are manoeuvring a vehicle and you cannot turn around to attend to him.
It is nerve-wracking, but never take a crying baby out of the car seat. Use these tips to calm him down instead.
- Take control of your emotions
It is easy to feel your life spiralling out of control and you can literally feel your blood pressure going through the roof when your kid is wailing in his car seat. Instead, take a deep breath and keep your emotions under control.
Do not turn around to look at him as that would be dangerous when you are driving. It is likely that he does not want to be strapped in a car seat and want to be in your arms.
Some good mantras can be helpful. The favourite, ‘this too shall pass’ is a good one. Kids go through a stage where they would just scream in the car seat and nothing would calm them down. They may just grow out of it in a couple of months.
- Check that the car seat straps are properly adjusted, so your baby isn’t pinched or sliding into a slouch
Ensure that the seat is installed at a 45-degree angle — any more upright can aggravate acid reflux. Make sure he is comfortably and properly strapped in as the seat belt may be digging too tightly into him.
This is important for not only comfort but safety as well. For rear facing seats the straps should be at or below shoulder level, not above the shoulder at all. When they are tiny you will also want the middle bottom buckle to be closer to their body.
- Make him comfortable for the journey
Sitting in a full or soaked diaper is not fun for your infant. Even if you changed him recently, change him into a fresh one just before going out. Make him comfortable during the journey, and he will be less likely to complain.
Also make sure he is hydrated. Is he feeling hot? Some car seats are made from fabrics that are not very breathable and they can end up sweaty and sticky, especially on warmer days.
- Familiarise him with the car seat at home
Let your baby get used to sitting in a car seat at home.
Bring the car seat in the house and let your baby sit and play in it. Once it becomes more familiar in the house, he may be happier to sit there in the car.
- Provide a good line of sight
Car sickness is often caused when travellers cannot see outside their vehicles. Looking at the passing scenery can stop travel discomfort, so do what you can to position your infant in his seat in such a way that he can see out the car window.
This way it may interest him with what is going outside of the window and keep him distracted with the scenery.
- Have his favourite toys with him
He can become bored in a matter of seconds, so take along a few of his favourite playthings.
A tip: secure them to his car seat, so that he can’t drop them on the floor as you would not be able to pick it up for him with two hands on the steering wheel.
- Play soothing music in the car
He will be temporarily soothed by gentle tunes, noisier songs and nursery rhythms will distract his attention and keep him amused. You could keep a CD of your baby's favourite nursery rhymes in the car for these occasions.
Or sing his favourite tunes to him as your baby will be soothed by your voice. Figure what your baby likes to hear and sing away or just talk if that works too!
It can be a mentally exhausting experience travelling with a baby. If possible, have someone else drive the car (your husband or a friend!) while you keep baby company at the back. Siblings can be a great source of comfort if they are old enough not to unintentionally hurt baby. Sit them next to each other and you may find your baby entertained by his older sibling’s silly antics and we will have a happy camper!
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The Finder. (2018). Baby Hates The Car Seat? 9 Survival Tips To Keep Him From Crying And Screaming. [online] Available at: http://www.thefinder.com.sg/kids/young-parenting/baby-hates-car-seat-9-survival-tips-keep-him-crying-and-screaming [Accessed 21 Jan. 2018].
Today's Parent. (2018). What to do when your baby hates his car seat. [online] Available at: https://www.todaysparent.com/baby/baby-development/what-to-do-when-your-baby-hates-his-car-seat/ [Accessed 21 Jan. 2018].
Child Development Institute. (2018). Car Seat Crying. [online] Available at: https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/ages-stages/baby-infant-development-parenting/car-seat-crying/#.WmQtXaiWY2w [Accessed 21 Jan. 2018].