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Some babies like car seats while others cry by just looking at one. Car seats are very important for an infant as they help prevent serious injuries from accidents. They are specially designed to protect the baby’s head and spinal cord from getting injured in case of a car crash.
Unfortunately, babies don’t understand these benefits; if they did, they would never protest about sitting in a car seat. The only thing they know is that they can’t see their mommy, and no one is there to hold them. Dealing with cranky babies is hard enough, but listening to a baby cry and driving at the same time is especially exhausting and stressful. You will probably panic when you get stuck with a crying baby in the car. The stress can even increase your heartbeat.
When babies don’t see their caregiver in front of them, they become agitated and this agitation leads to distress induced crying which turns to full screaming sessions if they don’t see their parents right away. Prolonged crying in infants can lead to a hoarse voice and even vomiting. This is especially very hard for mothers as they can’t go to their baby’s side due to traffic.
The tips below can help you to get your baby to like a car seat.
#1. If the baby has recently started crying in the car seat and is also fussy at home, make sure it is not due to an illness or an ear infection. Make an appointment with your pediatrician to rule out any sickness.
#2. Bring the car seat to the house and let the baby get familiar with it by making them sit in it at home with some nice music playing around. You can also show them some of your dance moves to get them excited. Try playing the same song in the car as well and see if it works.
#3. Keep a small box of car-friendly toys-the one’s baby can only use in the car. If the toys are attractive and interesting they may hold the baby’s attention. Just avoid the toys that are hard as they can hurt the baby in case of an emergency break.
#4. Hang toys with string on the car seat handle. It should be low enough for the baby to touch it. You can also tape toys on the car’s ceiling. Just make sure the toys are not hard as they can cause injury if they fall on the baby.
#5. Practice with short and uninterrupted rides when the baby is in a good mood so that the baby can get used to the feeling of being in a car seat. Once they start liking it, then you can gradually try increasing the distance.
#6. Baby will be happier if they have something to suck or chew on. A pacifier and teething toy will do the trick of keeping them calm. Make sure these items don’t present a choking hazard for the baby.
#7. Buy a mirror specially designed for the car seat. In this way, the baby will be able to see you and you will be able to see your baby while driving. The baby may think you are not with them and just seeing your face will be enough to keep them calm.
#8. The sunshine coming through the window in the baby’s face may be the problem. You can use a window shade to avoid this problem.
#9. Make sure the baby has not outgrown their car seat. If their legs get confined or their belt has become too tight then it is time to upgrade their car seat.
#10. Make sure you go out after your baby has been properly fed and burped because being constricted in the car seat can cause major gas to build up otherwise. Babies with reflux also face issues in the car seat as it doesn’t allow them to move freely and they can’t get comfortable due to tummy ache. Waiting for reflux to go away on its own can take quite a bit of time. Consult with your pediatrician for some relief or try natural remedies to take care of reflux.
#11. If a baby is dressed in too many layers they can get overheated in their car seat. Don’t make babies wear too many layers in the car as you can’t control its temperature. If it’s chilly outside then pack a jacket and put it on them once you are out of the car.
#12. Don’t let baby lean back on the seat straps while loading them. The sudden feel of that blatant stuff on a baby’s back can startle them or cause distress—enough to remind them that they hate the car seat. Invest in items that pin to the car seat straps to hold them out of the way while loading or unloading a child from the car seat. This makes it fast and easy, and it can also help keep a sleeping baby from waking up during the transfer from mom’s arms to the seat.
#13. Whenever possible, have someone ride alongside them. This won’t make them feel like they are alone and hence they won’t cry from separation distress.
#14. Use essential oils like lavender and chamomile in car diffuser. They are known to reduce stress and anxiety.
Above are tips to get your baby to like a car seat. Remember that it is temporary. Children do grow out of hating the car seat phase, but these tips can help them move towards happier rides sooner rather than later. You may never know which tip will do the trick unless you try them all, and with a little planning in advance, peaceful car rides may just be around the corner.
Even if all else fails, you may just need to bear with it and make peace with noisy, unhappy car rides for the time being. Just try to ignore it. Regardless of how much they voice their distress and unhappiness, car seats are a necessity for keeping your baby safe and healthy from accidental injuries. In the end, their safety comes first.