5 Tips and Tricks When Your Baby Hates Being In The Car Seat

Many parents face the challenge of their baby hating car rides. It’s a familiar scenario: the crying begins when they’re strapped into their car seat, leaving both parent and child distressed. 

But avoiding car rides altogether isn’t feasible, especially for essential tasks like grocery shopping or school runs. 

So, what can parents do to alleviate their baby’s discomfort during car rides? Below are some practical tips and tricks to make car journeys more bearable for everyone involved.

Double-Check the Car Seat

Ensuring your baby’s car seat is comfortable is crucial for a smooth ride. Many car seats aren’t adjusted properly, which can make your baby uncomfortable. According to experts, checking the recline angle according to your baby’s age and stage is essential. Each seat is different, so follow the manual carefully or visit a car seat clinic for help.

Some parents switch to roomier car booster seats — consider your baby’s comfort and safety to ensure a pleasant journey for both of you.

Investigate, Understand, and Console

When your baby or toddler is upset in their car seat, starting with the basics can often help identify potential sources of discomfort. Is sunlight streaming into their eyes, making them squint? Are they feeling too warm or too chilly in the backseat? Check the restraints—are they snug but not too tight, and are they positioned correctly?

During these moments, it’s crucial to remain composed. Parenting coach Sarah Rosensweet emphasises the concept of co-regulation, wherein children naturally mirror the emotional state of their caregivers. Offering yourself some empathy first can lay the foundation for effectively comforting your child. 

Next, validate your child’s emotions. Even amidst their cries, acknowledge their feelings with empathy. For example, you could say, “Oh, sweetie, I see you’re upset. It’s tough being in the car seat sometimes, right?” By acknowledging their feelings, you help them feel understood and supported.

Once you’ve identified the possible reasons behind their discomfort, offer reassurance and comfort. Use soothing tones and gentle touches to convey your care and understanding. You might try offering a favourite toy or blanket to provide security.

Every child is different, so finding what works best for your little one may take trial and error. Stay patient and persistent, and above all, continue to offer them love and support during these challenging moments in the car seat.

Distract Them

To make your baby forget about being strapped into their car seat and to create a fun atmosphere, engaging them with playful activities and comforting items can be incredibly effective. Here are some suggestions to help distract and entertain your little one during car rides:

  • Talk and sing: Engage your baby in conversation or sing their favourite songs to entertain them and provide comfort. The sound of your voice can be soothing and reassuring, helping to alleviate any anxiety they may feel about being in the car seat.

  • Play kids’ music: Put on some children’s music or nursery rhymes to stimulate your baby’s auditory senses and create a lively atmosphere in the car. Sing together and encourage your baby to clap or dance to the music.

  • Use car baby mirrors: Mirrors can be a helpful distraction for babies who enjoy looking at themselves. Install a mirror within their line of sight so they can see their reflection and stay engaged during the ride. Plus, it allows you to watch them while they’re rear-facing.

  • Introduce unique toys: Reserve a selection of toys your baby only gets to play with in the car seat. Choose engaging, colourful, and fun toys for your baby to play with. These exclusive toys can capture your baby’s attention and make car rides a more enjoyable experience for both of you. 

Create a Comfortable Environment

Creating a comfortable environment for your baby during car rides involves more than ensuring their car seat is cosy. It would be best to consider various factors to enhance their comfort throughout the journey.

First and foremost, controlling the temperature inside the car is crucial. Babies can quickly become uncomfortable if they’re too hot or cold, so adjusting the air conditioning or heating is essential. Dressing your baby in layers allows you to regulate their body temperature more effectively. 

Additionally, sunshades or window covers help block out direct sunlight, preventing the car from overheating and protecting your baby’s delicate skin from sunburn. 

Reducing noise levels inside the car is essential, as loud noises can be unsettling for babies. 

Keeping the radio volume low and avoiding noisy conversations can create a more soothing environment. If necessary, playing white noise or calming music can help drown out external sounds and promote relaxation. 

Plan Strategic Stops

Planning regular stops along the way is vital when embarking on a long car journey with your baby. These breaks provide opportunities for feeding, nappy changes, and stretching, ensuring your baby’s comfort throughout the trip. 

Choose convenient locations with amenities for parents and babies, aiming to stop every two to three hours. During breaks, let your baby stretch their legs and use the time for feeding and changing. Stay organised by keeping essential items easily accessible.


Dealing with a baby who hates being in the car seat can be challenging, but implementing these tips and tricks can help make car rides smoother and more enjoyable for you and your little one. So, the next time you hit the road with your baby, try incorporating these tips and see the difference it makes. Happy travels!

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