When my third child was a baby, I grew to dread car rides. She hated riding in the car so much that I developed some mild form of PTSD from the experience. My husband’s parents live about an hour away, and every time we would go visit, she would scream the whole way there and the whole way back. Any time we ran errands in town, she would scream. Anytime we drove five minutes to church, she would scream. I hated to go anywhere with her in the car and avoided it as much as possible. While avoiding the car is one strategy, it can’t always be done in life. If you have a baby who hates to be in the car, try these tips for helping make the experience better for everyone involved.
Consider Motion Sickness
As my daughter got older and able to communicate, I realized she gets quite motion sick in the car. This was a big light bulb moment for me and I realized, “Duh! She was probably screaming all that time because she felt so sick every time we drove.” We love some essential oil drops you can purchase from Walmart or Amazon called MotionEaze. You just put drops behind the ear and they work very well! It also helps to look out the window if possible, but most carseats don’t allow that. Something else that can help is air. When my daughter feels motion sick, we open windows or turn on air conditioning.
Your baby might scream if she is too hot or too cold. Consider how you have dressed your baby for the vehicle, any blankets you may be using, and the temperature of the vehicle. Be sure air isn’t blowing directly on your child.
Consider Other Comfort Factors
Are the straps the correct tightness? Is the angle of the carseat uncomfortable? Does your baby need certain clothes on to ride comfortably? Always keep these factors safe for riding in the carseat, but change what you can to ensure comfort.
Your child might be happier if she has a sibling next to her to help entertain her. She might like to move next to a window to help her see out. You might have to sit by her when possible. The location of where your baby is in the car is obviously impacted by more than her mood. You might have her in a certain stop for safety or convenience, so weigh all factors against each other.
Buy Car Toys
Some babies will scream if they are bored. Get a car mirror for the social baby. This might also help with motion sickness since it will give your baby more of a view. Have toys and books that you only pull out when in the car. You can get wrist rattles that strap on to the baby’s wrist who can’t hold toys. You can hook toys to carseats so they are in easy reach. Books are great for the car. These things can help distract an upset baby.
Bring Lovies Along
If your baby has a pacifier, favorite blanket, or favorite toy, bring that along in the car.
Music might distract your little one from her troubles.
You might have some success with more exposure to driving. The more you do it, the more she gets used to it.
For most of us, driving is a necessary action day to day. Try these things to see if you can help your baby enjoy traveling more. If none of them work, cut back the driving you have to do with baby as much as possible. It won’t last forever. Ironically, my third child is now my best traveler. She is my only child who will sleep in the car and she is quite content in there. We can even take long road trips as a family. There is hope for your future!
Valerie is a mother to four and blogs at www.BabyWiseMom.com