Do you have a baby or young child who struggles with travelling in the car? You are not alone. Both my children absolutely hated their car seat and travelling in the car. Over the years there have been a few things I’ve tried and has proven to work, so hopefully my 12 tips to help your baby stop crying in the car and begin to enjoy their car travel experience.
So why is it that whenever you have a screaming child in the car you get every single red light to your destination? Anxiety levels quickly escalate and through desperation we find ourselves madly doing anything to comfort our crying baby, which can reduce our ability to drive safely. Let me share some great tips with you.
12 tips to help your baby stop crying in the car
1. Choose your car seat wisely from the very beginning
There are a few important things you want to consider before even putting your child in any car seat. Safety of your precious baby is absolutely number 1. The car seat we have professionally installed for Boo (aged 1 year) is Europe’s most popular and trusted car seat, the Maxi Cosi Euro NXT. It has amazing safety features that you’ll want to rely on when you are travelling in the car with children, such as the GCELL technology, which is a tough shell material that lines the whole outside of the car seat and acts as a crumple zone and helps to reduce the impact during a crash.
If your child likes to escape their carseat and get out from their seat belt then consider getting yourself a ‘Houdini Stop’ strap. They are brilliant and will ensure your child remains in their carseat with their seatbelt ON!
2. Plan your trip
Regardless of how long you expect your baby to be in the car with you, always plan ahead. Taking a few extra minutes to plan and gather safe travel bits and pieces can make all the difference between a trip being enjoyable or something that leaves you and your child both in tears.
3. Getting comfortable
You want your child to be as comfortable as possible during travel. Ensure your child has adequate airflow and isn’t too hot or too cold.
4. Pick your timing
If possible, it’s a great idea to try and travel in the car with your baby during their nap time. It will allow you to be able to concentrate on the road and have them well rested when it comes to arriving at your destination.
5. Rotate car toys
All children love toys. It’s a great idea to have a small collection of safe toys that your child can entertain themselves with independently. We keep all our toys in a draw string cotton bag as it keeps the car tidy-ish.
Children love to look at themselves in the mirror so offer them a safe hand held plastic mirror to play with. You can also attach this to the back of the front seat headrest so it’s available to them easily.
7. Swinging toys
Consider hanging a safe string of toys from the exit handle. Young babies love to see toys move in interesting ways and will delight in swiping and trying to catch the toys as you drive around corners.
8. Photo books
When children are confined to a car seat they can feel distressed because they can’t be close to you like they can when they are out of the car. My clever sister in law had these adorable photo books made, which include photos of my children and family at special events. They are durable and will capture your child’s interest. You can order these online or at your nearest photo store.
9. Music or ‘white noise’
It might take a little experimenting, but your child might also enjoy listening to some fun children’s music or the repetitive sound of white noise. There are many CDs that you can purchase and have ready to play whenever you need.
10. Food and Water
If you’re not worried about crumbs, you can pack some safe food snacks that your baby can enjoy in the car whilst travelling. Of course it’s always a great idea to be sure your baby is well hydrated with fresh water too.
11. Car environment
Sometimes opening a car window slightly and allowing some fresh air to circulate can make a big difference to how your child is feeling in the car.
Children feel comfort in what is familiar so it’s a great idea to give your child an opportunity to play and explore their new car seat before having it professionally installed. This allows them to learn how it feels and see it as something positive and safe.