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Thursday, 24 November 2016



No parenting class can prepare you for this moment. You are in the backseat of a car next to your baby, who is screaming himself blue in the carseat while you are travelling at 110km/h on the freeway.

It's one of those truely magical parenting moments that forgets to get a mention.

What does get a mention is how much babies LOVE the car. Puts them right to sleep. You'll drive around for hours.

Deceptively calm car baby.

Not necessarily.

So why do some babies hate the car and what can be done to help them, you and the general population on the road?

Let's have a look at some possible reasons for 'Screaming Car Baby'.

1. Car Sick

What is it?

This would suck wouldn't it. You've just been born mum keeps putting you in the seat that makes you want to hurl. Sometimes you do. Mainly you scream.

What to do about it?

- When the baby is old enough,  forward facing can help.

- In the mean time try and restrict car trips to nap time to avoid staring out at the constantly moving scenery.

- Keep the car cool.

- Try to avoid bumpy or winding roads.

- Avoid stop/start peak hour traffic as much as possible.

- Have a break or escape plan set up. Know the parks and cafes along the drive if you need to hop and and have a break until baby is tired or calm.

- Do not stop on the side of the freeway or motorway if you can avoid doing so. It is dangerous, attempt to exit the road first.

- Install an Antistatic car strap (click for picture)

- Use other modes of transport. Trains and buses seem scary and difficult to navigate. But you have grown and birthed life. You've got this. 

Freshly washed car seat cover. Luckily they aren't too tricky.

2. Bored

What is it?

This bubba wants stimulation and there isn't much happening facing the back of the car. 

What to do about it?

- Toys on rotation. And more toys. It's great if they make noises or have buttons/ sound effects. 

- A mirror to see mum.

- Some fantastic mind-numbing music. Try Disney's Frozen album (NB: do not let the steering wheel go).

3. Lonely

What is it?

This little one just wants a hug. 

What to do about it. 

- Mirror mirror on the carseat - adjusted so that baby can see your beautiful face. The mirror comforts the baby that you are there. It is also reassuring for you to be able to see your baby.

- Constant singing of a favourite nursery rhyme. Try the wiggles or anything from play school. Keep it up for duration of trip. 40mins of singing vs 40 mins of crying. It's not pretty, but I know which one I'd pick. 

4. Reflux/ Gassy

What is it?

If this is your baby... you probably know all about it. Fussing and crying is their game, with or without a carseat. These bubs are most comforted by being held upright, so a carseat is basically the opposite of what makes them feel better.

What to do about it?

- Wait. As the baby grows and the digestive system matures the symptoms should reduce.

- If you think your baby has undiagnosed reflux, it might be a good idea to check in with your GP.

- Avoid the car when you can. This baby does best in an upright baby carrier or sling, which coincidentally makes public transport a more achievable option.

5. Hot and Bothered

What is it?

Have you ever gone to get your baby out of the car and realised that they are really sweaty? Babies are still learning to regulate their body temperature, and since there is less surface area on them than an adult they can get really hot (and really cold) very quickly.

This can quickly become a problem as the weather heats up. Especially if your baby is screaming and using lots of energy.

What to do about it?

- If you have a capsule a refacing car seat may have better airflow.

- Buy a clip on fan like this (click here).

- Keep the a/c on the down low on hot days- it probably needs to be a degree or two colder than is comfortable in the from to reach the back at a decent temp.

Bonus hint: point air con towards roof so that you don't freeze but air reaches the back seat.

- Try to park in shady places.

- Place a reflective cover over the car seat while you are parked so that it stays as cool as possible.

- Check in with your baby frequently. If you are worried, stop the car in a safe place and check the baby.

6. Uncomfortable

What is it?

Pretty self-explanatory. Some carseats you can just look at and see that they will not be comfortable. Others look comfortable, however as the baby 'uncurls' from newborn to baby the ergonomics of comfort change. 

What to do about it?

- Try a rear facing car seat instead of a capsule.

- Consider getting baby checked by an osteopath or chiropractor in case there are alignment issues causing discomfort.

7. All of the above

What to do about it?

- Abandon your car for at least 6 months.... Save the planet and your sanity. 

Thank you for reading!!! And safe travels. 

Please feel free to leave comments below.