When Your Baby HATES the Car Seat

You've put it off as long as you can. You have to go out to do some errands. The battle begins. You wrestle your struggling 4-month-old into his car seat. As usual, you win the battle, but not without a price. He cries and fights the seat for the entire drive.

April 2011

New Carseat Guidelines Focus on Age

New advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will change the way (and for how long) you buckle up your kids. The new policy advices that children should:

  • Ride rear-facing to at least age 2, and
  • Use a booster until at least age 8
Read more about the new guidelines.
Sound familiar? Try this:

Your child's dislike of car seats is far from unusual. This is a rare instance, however, where there's no room for negotiation. Sadly, more children die from car crashes each year than from any other type of injury. But survival rates are much higher when a child is strapped into a properly installed safety seat.

As for your subduing your fussy baby's fidgety ways, try these parent-proven techniques.
  • Dress for Success. Make sure your baby is neither overdressed nor underdressed when riding in the car. He should be wearing clothing that is comfortable and appropriate for the inside temperature.
  • Routine Behavior. Sing a soothing song every time you strap your baby in his car seat. You may also want to hand him a favorite toy or comfort object that "only lives in the car." Don't rush your little one, and make time for a fun rhyme or a quick game of peek-a-boo.
  • Drive to Distraction. If your baby begins to sob, divert his attention by turning on a baby-friendly tune. If there's another adult or older child in the car, place that person next to your infant to keep him entertained. Babies love to look at books or even try to catch blown bubbles from their secure perch in a car.
Further Reading

The Top 5 Mistakes Parents Make with Car Seats