What to do if your baby hates the car seat

October 11, 2022Advice, Parenting

Some tots love feeling comfortable and secure in their car seats. For others, getting settled in for a car journey will be a constant battle.

As a parent, listening to your child cry or squirm around in their seat can be heartbreaking, not to mention super distracting when you’re trying to concentrate on the road. Sadly, supermarket runs and trips to see grandparents can’t always be avoided.

So, what can you do when your baby hates the car seat?

Why does my baby hate the car seat?

If your baby has suddenly decided they don’t want to sit in their seat, or if they’ve disliked it since birth, it’s time to investigate.

While some babies are just fussy, there are many logical reasons your little one may hate the car seat. They may be overstimulated, lonely, bored, or have motion sickness. Overstimulation is expected in the littlest of babies as they adjust to the world outside the cosy womb.

Physical discomfort is one big issue you can try to rule out immediately. Are they too cold or too hot? Are they strapped in too tightly? If so, their straps may be pinching into their skin. Are their straps adjusted correctly? Strapping your little one in too loosely may be unsafe, but tightening the straps too much can be uncomfortable or even painful. Adjusting the straps will help you find a safe yet comfortable middle ground.

Luckily, if discomfort isn’t the issue, there are many other solutions you can try.

What not to do if your baby hates the car seat

Before we go over some handy tips and tricks that could help you coax your little one into their seat, let’s discuss what not to do.

Don’t turn their seat around too early

Some tots don’t enjoy sitting in a rear-facing seat. However, resist the temptation to turn the chair around earlier than is recommended. Expert advice recommends keeping your child rear-facing until they’re around 15 months old. While your little one’s cries may be distressing, their safety is always the top priority.

Don’t get frustrated

We know — easier said than done. Car seat meltdowns are never pleasant, but it’s best to avoid responding in frustration. Keep calm when talking to your tot to avoid any heightening any feelings of anxiety more.

Don’t avoid driving

When tantrums become part of the routine of heading out for a drive, avoiding using the car can seem an easy solution. However, avoiding driving will make life ten times harder and reduce your tot’s chances of getting used to their seat.

How to help your baby feel happy in the car seat

First, take a deep breath. This won’t go on forever. Babies generally grow out of hating the car seat as they get older. Until then, here are some tips for how to help your baby feel happy in their car seat.

Check their seat

It’s important to make sure their seat is correctly installed. The incline needs to be adjusted based on their age and size. Likewise, consider trying different styles of seats; some tots prefer feeling snug in bucket seats, whereas others prefer a roomier convertible seat.

Make getting in the car fun

Try playing music, having a sing-along, and chatting with your child through the journey. Distraction techniques can go a long way to helping your tot forget they’re in their car seat and can be fun for you, too!

Console them

While it may be challenging, remain calm when your baby is crying. Instead of getting frustrated, speak to them calmly and validate their emotions. Keeping the mood positive while reassuring them that you will get them out soon may help calm their nerves.

Adjust their feeding schedule

If your child struggles with car sickness, try reducing how much they eat before a car journey. Carsick little ones often fare better on an empty stomach and can enjoy a delicious snack once you arrive at your destination.

Give them their favourite toy

Try offering them comfort and company with a cuddly toy. When placing an item in a child’s car seat or crib, you must keep an eye on them. Attaching a mirror to their seat will make it easy for you to check on them while driving. A sensory activity toy that wraps around the handle of their carrier can be a fantastic option for comforting your child and keeping them entertained for the journey.

Check out our range of sensory toys and personalise your tot’s new travel companion with their name!