Does your newborn hate their car seat too?
Mommy,  Newborn Series,  Parenting

Does Your Newborn Hate Their Car Seat Too?

When my first son was born, we realized fairly quickly that our newborn hates his car seat.  It was a horrible ride home from the hospital with my husband driving and freaking out that he was going to die.  I sat in the back seat trying my best to console him but to no avail.  Are you in the same boat as we were?  Try these tips on things you can do if your newborn hate their car seat!

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Does Your Newborn Hate Their Car Seat Too?

Does your baby hate their infant car seat?
I remember when I was pregnant, my husband and I use to look at babies in their car seat fast asleep.  Now we look at them and think, “What lucky parents” because we definitely didn’t have that peaceful looking baby in our infant car seat.  We had a red-faced, tear-stricken, and SCREAMING baby.  If you’ve found yourself in the same spot like us, I know how desperate you are looking for some help and solutions.

First Things First Safety

Make sure your baby’s car seat is installed properly and make sure your car seat is on the correct recline level.  The car seat being loose in your car will experience a lot of movement while you drive that you may not be aware of.  This can cause abrupt movements that your baby may not find comforting. Also check that your infant car seat is probably latched into the base.

Check if something is bothering your baby. Maybe your baby cries because the sun gets in their face. If that’s the case, invest in car sun shades. My husband carried his golf clubs in our car at all times and sometimes the sun would reflect off of the golf clubs and shine a bright light in our son’s face.

Planning Ahead

Timing is important! Timing your errands around your baby’s schedule can help a lot. After a week, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how often your baby feeds and sleeps. We found that the best time to do anything that involved our son being in a car seat is right after a feeding. I would change his diaper and he usually falls right to sleep and makes less of a fuss in his car seat. For future appointments or other events, you can plan ahead and begin to prepare your baby for that trip by scheduling them around his feeding and nap schedule.

Take a breath, your baby is probably fine. Even when we put him to sleep in his infant car seat and left for our destination, my son was a poor sleeper as an infant. He would wake up, realize he was in his car seat, and then start screaming his head off. My husband would sometimes pull over just to check if he was in danger of anything like a blanket preventing him to breathe. What really freaked us out was when he would stop crying because we were certain he was dead. That was never the case for us fortunately.

It can be really hard on parents to listen to their baby just scream and cry.  Your baby can’t tell you what they want or need and all we want to do is help them. Rest assured, your baby is probably fine. They may be upset, but they are probably not in danger. Try to mentally prepare yourself because it’s also your responsibility to get to your destination safely.

Helpful Solutions

Play your baby your favorite music (or theirs)!

If you find yourself in this situation and your heart is racing and have no idea what to do, I found it helpful to try singing to your baby (even if you can’t even hear yourself sing because you’re being drowned out by your baby screaming). You can also try playing your favorite music if your child doesn’t already have a preference. A few of my friends have found some music that their baby really enjoys and it seems to calm them! That wasn’t the case for us but one of my best friend’s son loves the sound of Selena’s music and calms him right down! I have found my kids seem to like Justin Timberlake songs but that was much later in life.

Get a rear seat mirror. These are genius and surprisingly my husband and I never used one for our kids. It probably would’ve helped in those many situations that my husband felt the need to pull over and check on our child’s well being. With these mirrors, we could’ve done that without feeling the need to pull over. The rear seat mirror serves two purposes; to reassure anxious parents that their child is in fact alive and well and second, a means for your child to be able to see you. Seeing you might comfort them.

Have someone sit with your child as you drive. It helps to have another person sit next to your baby in the back seat to help keep your baby distracted until you get to your destination. Whenever my husband and I were together, I would sit in the back with my son. This helped a lot since he could see me and I keep play with him while we traveled. Sometimes this won’t be an option when you’re alone but I know it was much easier for my son when I sat with him.

Feed your child during the trip. My son was exclusively breastfed and he wouldn’t take a bottle so this option wasn’t an option for us. However, if your child does take a bottle, you could wait until feedings to feed your child while in the car. I still recommend being present in the back seat since your baby could spit up. Our son also didn’t take a pacifier, but I do have friends that swear by it when they put their baby in a car seat. They told me it soothes them to sleep, making for a peaceful trip anywhere. Lucky for them because both my kids refuse pacifiers or teethers.

Buy infant car seat toys. We had this awesome infant car seat toy that attaches to the infant seat handle via velcro. My son was totally entertained by this thing because he could just reach it so to hit it and watch it spin. It played a little melody with some lights that wasn’t overly annoying or loud. There are several you could find, some don’t require batteries. Try a few and see how it goes!

I hope in telling you how we handled our situation has helped you. I admit sometimes these worked, sometimes we had to try a few of these, but I can assure you; although your child may seem really upset, they are probably not in any danger. Breathe. Hang in there!

Does your newborn hate their car seat too?

What tips do you have for others in your position?  I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for visiting Mommy Engineering!

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Wife, Stay at Home Mom of two boys, and blogger. Friends and family call me Kaye but my personal favorite is "Mom." I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to be at home with my two baby boys. As an engineer by career, and stay-at-home mom by choice, I write about how to “Invent. Innovate. Design. Mommyhood” and what that entails.

  • Candy Kage

    Most people don’t have their child’s car seat installed according to safety checks.

  • Sarah Brumley

    Ultimately, kids have to deal with the fact that restraints are necessary (and required) in cars. These are all great tips to help them grow accostomed to car seats.

  • https://www.yeahlifestyle.com Yeah Lifestyle

    Oh no, sorry to hear that. Our kids loved their car seat and in fact we used to take them out for drives when they needed a nap or were unsettled. Its so important to have good car seats though.

  • Kim Seghers

    I never had a problem with my kiddos not liking their car seats until they got around four years old, then they never wanted to sit in them.

  • http://snappedandscribbled.com Roselle Carlos-Toledo

    I envy parents whose kids love car seats. My little toddler never want to sit on his car seat and we were not successful in letting him sit. He prefer sitting on the lap.

  • Stephanie

    Don’t have kids but I can see how this is a helpful post because you want your babies to happy and safe. Love your idea of a rear seat mirror, that’s so smart!

  • https://www.facebook.com/ninjavaservices/ Clare Liz – NinjaVAServices

    The back seat mirror is a great idea, I like that. I’ve never had a problem with my children and their car seats they seem to really like the motion. I guess I am one of those annoyingly lucky ones.

  • http://parentingpatch.com/ Heather Johnson

    With my first, I freaked out when she freaked out over riding in her carseat. Now with my third, I am like, “Shh shh,” and then basically ignore the crying. (You get so much more relaxed with each kiddo!) Babies have to be in carseats and a little crying in the car will not harm anyone but not riding in a carseat could.

  • Madelainxos

    Awe I don’t have a baby, but my nieces and nephews hated their car seats lol. So many laws and new seats have hit the market since then. The mirror is one of my favorite ideas that I’ve seen.

    Madelain | http://www.wheremyheartwanders.com

  • Tina Hogan Grant

    My son who is now 30 hated the car seat. Yes the mirror worked wonders and also having him surounded by his favorite stuffed toys worked too.

  • http://kidcongeniality.com KidCongeniality

    I was so lucky, every time my son got in the car it rocked him to sleep. Im paying for it now though he complains about his booster seat.

  • Hannah Marie

    These tips are helpful. My sister just gave birth and has a car seat ready. I hope my niece would love her car seat.

  • http://www.ericamesirov.com Erica

    Great advice. I would be so nervous with a screaming baby too. Even though your brain knows he’s probably fine, you totally want to check just to make sure.

  • Dee Jaye

    These are great tips. I know a few friends whose children hated their car seats

  • Chuck Vargas

    Great tips!! I guess we have to check our car seat for our baby too

  • Jennifer G

    These are absolutely amazing and helpful tips for people that have to deal with this! It can be so hard to drive when your baby is crying in the back!

  • https://www.thesouthernsmiths.com Marci Smith

    Thankfully my baby doesn’t seem to mind! Hopefully its having her brothers next to her that are helping with that.

  • Batiste Ladonna

    You post is amazing and is great for people with newborn babies. I will pass this information on to my friends with newborns.

  • http://www.wildishjess.com Wildish Jess

    My current youngest never hated his car seat but he did hate car rides!

  • http://www.fitfotog.com Nicole Caudle

    My oldest hated his car seat. I tried to be prepared as much as possible, these are some great tips I can remember for the next time!

  • Rose Mont

    My kids are older and tolerate their seats or tell me about it. I do remember extended trips though. My son would cry unstoppable and I would pull over to get him out and he wouldn’t want to go back in for nothing. I could sympathize because the seats sit weird, are not the softest and depending on the age (even with a mirror) they can’t see anyone.

  • Rashmi & Chalukya

    My kiddo initially had problems getting adjusted to car seat but slowly she got used to. I like the idea of playing baby’s favorite music and carrying toys to play with.

  • http://www.bestreviewofproduct.com/ Kim I bestreviewofproduct

    My son used to hate his car seat but I can definitely agree on bringing toys children can play with while on the drive or having someone sit beside them for distraction. Nice and helpful tips here, thanks for sharing!

  • https://bobforher.com Jelena Berar

    Oh yes. My kids hate their car seats also. But with proper toys and music I never have to big touble with them.

  • Cassandra R

    My friend’s nephew hated his car seat in the beginning but now he cries when we take him out of it! Bringing toys for him to play with really helped him adjust.