As a parent who drives around very often, I am no stranger to car seats. Most days I enjoy taking my baby with me on the go, but let me tell you, there are days that I dread getting in the car.
We all know that a baby car seat is essential for taking your baby anywhere, the least your child can do is make things a bit easier by not screaming the entire ride right?
- The reason why your baby all of a sudden hates its car seat can be because it’s getting too big for the model you have.
- Strange sounds and lights can also cause your baby to start crying while in the car seat.
- The reason might not even be because of the car seat itself, but rather something psychological.
- Make sure to have a positive attitude so that your baby doesn’t pick up on your negative energy.
In short: Why do babies hate car seats?
Babies hate car seats due to their instinct of feeling insecure, feeling too tight, or simply not feeling comfortable. Most of the time, they feel uncomfortable due to the pressure that the seat provides on the back.
Also Read: How To Handle When Baby Hates Bassinet
I have been in situations where my kid all of a sudden can’t stand the car seat and won’t stop crying while I’m driving, and having a screaming toddler car is not a good feeling.
Not only is the screaming making my head feel like it’s going to explode but I keep losing focus while trying to turn back and calm my baby down. The worst feeling is when it happens in the middle of the highway with no place to pull over.
Let me tell you what I have learned over the years as a driving parent and teach you what to do when baby suddenly hates car seat.
Things to consider/check to avoid this
Check the size
Not all car seats are the same. Some are meant for infants and others for toddlers. Your baby might start to hate its car seat all of a sudden because it’s getting too small and it’s becoming a problem for it to sit comfortably.
You might not notice it at first glance because most of the straps and buckles are adjustable. If you adjust them to be longer you might miss that the actual seat is getting too small for your baby.
Maybe your baby is getting too tall and it’s hitting its head on the top of the car seat, or maybe It can’t even fit when it’s upright and it has to bend down slightly.
All these changes can be too minor for you to notice if you don’t pay attention. Luckily most car seats are adjustable so you won’t have to get a new one every time your baby grows a few inches.
Check the safety features
Car seats come with a lot of straps and buckles that are used to keep your baby safe in case something happens. The straps need to be secured tight, but you need to be careful not to overdo it. The reason your baby might be upset can be because it feels like the straps are too tight or maybe it feels pinching from one of the buckles.
You should also check if some of the straps are causing rope burns on your baby’s skin. You might not notice it at first, but the safety belt might come in contact with your baby’s skin and cause discomfort.
Check for light
Always make sure that you put yourself in your baby’s place. Sit in the back seat and bend down to where your baby’s head should be to see if is there something that will get in your way. Perhaps the morning sun is getting in your baby’s eyes, or it reflects from a shiny surface causing difficulty seeing.
Maybe you have a strange light in your car that you don’t see from the driver’s seat and it’s disturbing your baby, causing it to cry for seemingly no reason.
Check for sounds
Depending on the model, your car can be loud, and if your baby gets over the initial start of the engine sound, it might be unsettled by all the other sounds your car makes. Maybe your car makes a weird noise while driving and you can’t hear it from the front seat, but your baby in the back can.
Make sure to also check if you have something that can make a weird noise in your trunk. Maybe you forgot a bottle of water in there and it’s moving and making a noise that scares your baby.
Maybe the fact that your baby suddenly hates car seat has nothing to do with the car seat itself, but more to do with the time of the car ride.
There are two approaches to this possible problem. The first is that your baby is hungry during the car ride and the second is that your baby is full and feels nauseous because of it.
If you are taking the older kids to school early in the morning right after breakfast and you have your baby in the back seat because you can’t leave it alone, maybe this is the problem.
Your baby can start to feel nauseous if it just ate, and since it has no way to express its feelings yet, maybe it vocalizes its discomfort by crying and throwing a fit.
On the other hand, maybe you are picking your older kids up from school before dinner time and your baby is crying because it feels hungry.
A small baby will probably have a set routine in place in the first few mounts. If you change the routine, your kid might feel confused and maybe even throw a fit. If normally you had car rides at 9 am and now you have them at 7 am, this may cause your baby to misbehave because of the change.
Also if you had nap time at 2 pm and now you have to go grocery shopping at that time, this can be cause for frustration. This of course will vary depending on how old your baby is and how adaptable to changes it is.
The reason why your baby suddenly hates the car seat can also be physiological and have nothing to do with the things I mention above. Before you leave the house and strap your baby in its car seat be mindful of your attitude.
Are you stressed, angry, or simply just not in a good mood? Your baby might not be able to talk to you, but it can feel like you’re not doing your best. If you’re constantly in a bad mood when you get in the car, the baby might not want to be there with you in the first place.
Create a positive attitude
Try to create a positive environment for your baby. If you are feeling stressed, pause, take a few breaths, and then continue. Get your baby excited about the place you’re going, even if it’s just the supermarket.
This will of course work better for your kid as a toddler and it can understand what you are talking to them. But even if your baby is 6 mounts old you can talk to it with a kind voice, smile more, and overall radiate with positivity even if you’re not having the best of days.
You can also bring toys, play baby music and find other ways to entertain your baby. If you have a toddler maybe try playing stories on the radio, or put on cartoons on a tablet stuck to the back of the front seat.
If you have a small baby, then a lullaby can do the trick, you can also try singing to your baby, or talking in a soft and soothing voice.
The safety of our kids is the most important thing to us as parents. Sometimes we have to think deep tough. I found that more often than not my baby has no problem with the car seat, but rather with my attitude.
I used to leave my house in a hurry, strap my baby in, and go do my thing every morning. I can’t promise that all good words were spoken in the car while sitting in traffic during that time. That is when I noticed that my baby would start crying, which stressed me out even more.
I learned my lesson, now we leave the house with big smiles and make sure to listen to good music every time we go for a ride.
Hi! I am Kimberly, living in Huntington, NY. I’ve raised 4 beautiful children, and i started this blog to help new and upcoming mothers with parenting.