How to Calm Babies When on the Road

Not every baby enjoys spending time in their carseat and even those who do will sometimes get upset when riding in the car. As a parent, it can be incredibly stressful to have a screaming baby in the back of your car while you’re trying to focus on driving. It can also lead you to feeling helpless because there's little you can do to comfort your child. Although these stressful moments are simply a part of being a parent, you may be able to take some steps to help comfort your child when they’re upset in the car. Below, we’ve broken down some tips to try.

Tips for Calming Babies While Driving

Parents tend to feel like there is nothing they can do when their child starts to get fussy while driving. Although you should always keep your eyes on the road and place paying attention while driving as your top priority, you can also try to calm your baby in a number of ways including playing some calming music, offering a pacifier or teething toy, remaining calm yourself, or talking to your baby. If you start to feel genuinely concerned about your baby’s wellbeing, there is no shame in pulling over to check on them. 

1. Play Calming Music

Have a playlist of calming music handy that you can quickly put on for your baby when they become fussy. You could also just drive with calm music playing regardless of whether your baby is fussy or not, so that you don’t have to worry about trying to change the music while driving. You should be able to use voice commands on your phone or vehicle to easily turn on a calm playlist without taking your focus off of the road. Classical music, peaceful piano, or baby lullabies are all great music options that your baby will likely enjoy. 

2. Offer a Teething Toy or Pacifier

Keep some baby-friendly toys in your vehicle or purse so that you can easily hand your child something in case they get upset. Many babies self-soothe with pacifiers but if your child doesn’t use one, you can also pass them a small toy that they can hold and look at. Teething is a common source of fussiness in babies of many ages and teething toys can sometimes help babies soothe the gum pain caused by new teeth. Look for some chewy, baby-safe teething toys and give one to your baby before getting on the road so you know they’ll have something to help with teething pain. 

3. Try Your Best to Remain Calm 

It is incredibly important that you try your hardest to stay calm when your baby becomes fussy in the car. Even though this can be a very stressful situation, getting upset yourself will only make matters worse. If you become angry or upset then your child will likely pick up on this energy, making them feel worse. 

Also, being upset while driving can be dangerous since it pulls your attention away from the road. If your child’s fussiness is affecting you so much that you are unable to remain calm, then this would be a good time to pull over. You can get out of the vehicle and check on your baby and take a minute to calm yourself down in order to focus on driving once you get back on the road. Try to take a couple of deep calming breaths if you feel yourself getting upset if your baby is crying in their car seat while you’re driving. 

4. Talk or Sing to Your Baby 

Even young babies appreciate being spoken to so try soothing your baby by calmly speaking to them. Remind them that you are there with them and that they are safe. Speak in a calming tone to help your baby relax. You can also try singing some songs to your baby as well. Think of any lullabies or songs that they typically enjoy and sing them quietly to your baby. Many babies like songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, or Hush Little Baby. Singing to your baby may also help keep you calm as well.

5. Know When to Pull Over

If your baby’s fussiness seems out of the ordinary or you’re starting to have concerns about their well-being, there is nothing wrong with pulling over to check on them. Be sure to pull over in a safe area, such as a nearby parking lot, rather than on the side of the road. This will allow you to get out of the vehicle and check on your child. Check your child’s position in their car seat to ensure that they are comfortable and look to see if their straps are too tight. Try to adjust anything you can to help make your child more comfortable. 

Additional Car Seat Comfort Tips

Ensuring that your baby is comfortable in their car seat can help them feel more relaxed when riding in the car. Take some of the following steps to ensure comfort for your baby when riding in their car seat.
  • Adjust straps where necessary. Car seat straps should be snug but too tight. The straps should fit snugly along your child’s body without any slack or sagging.
  • For younger babies who aren’t yet holding their head up, you’ll want to ensure that their head is properly supported and in a safe position. Babies should never be in a chin-to-chest position when in the car seat. 
  • You’ll want to make sure to remove any thick clothing such as coats or scarves before strapping your baby into their car seat since these can make your baby feel constricted, overheated, and can even pose a safety hazard. 
  • If your child just seems to hate their car seat, you may want to take some steps to help them get used to it. Try bringing it into your home and giving your child the chance to practice sitting in it while at home. 

Final Thoughts

Car seat meltdowns are never fun for parents or babies, but they’re just another challenging part of raising a child. Try your hardest to stay calm if and when your baby becomes fussy in the car seat and do everything within your power to keep them calm. If you become genuinely concerned or lose your cool, it may be time to pull over and take a breather. 

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