Some babies love to be in their carseats, while others don’t enjoy it very much at all. Either way, it is important that you make sure your baby is comfortable and safe when riding in the car. Since babies are too young to truly express how they’re feeling, it is up to you as a parent to do everything in your power to ensure that they are comfortable. Today, we will list a few tips to help ensure that your baby is comfortable when riding in the car.
Keep Your Baby Shaded from the Sun
Sun can easily shine through your back window when you’re driving around with your baby. It is important to pay attention to make sure that your baby isn’t being hit with direct sunlight for an extended period of time. You can purchase a sun shade for your window that simply sticks on to the back window and tints out any sunlight. Some parents also opt for a sun cover for their back windows that attaches via suction cups. If your back windows are already tinted darkly, this may not be a major concern for you. Look at your baby’s car seat to see if it has a canopy cover that can be pulled forward to help keep them shaded as well.
Offer Safe Toys
Your baby will probably enjoy having some small, safe toys with them while riding in the car. Some younger babies have a tough time being strapped into their car seats because they might feel alone in the back of the car when they’re usually used to close attention from adults. Providing your baby with entertaining items such as a rattle, toy, or a board book can help keep them busy and relaxed. You can even get a car seat toy that hangs down from the top of your baby’s car seat that will rattle and soothe them, similar to a crib mobile.
Install a Car Seat Mirror
Car seat mirrors are the best way to keep an eye on your baby while also being able to keep your eyes on the road. A car seat mirror simply attaches to the front of the back seat of your car and faces your baby so you can see your baby’s reflection by glancing in your rearview mirror. We definitely recommend installing a car seat mirror so you can easily check on your baby while they’re in their car seat. However, you should never take your eyes off the road for a long time to stare at your baby in your mirror as this can be dangerous.
Provide Comfort Items
If your baby self soothes with a pacifier, you should definitely make sure to bring one along when traveling in the car to keep them comfortable and at ease. Some babies also like to hold onto a small stuffed animal, teething toy, or a milk bottle. Think of any items your baby likes to have nearby and ensure that they have these items in the car as well (as long as they are safe). We do not recommend leaving your baby unattended in their car seat with any blankets or pillows near them since these items can pose a safety risk.
Plan Long Drives Accordingly
If you’re going to be riding in the car for a long time with your baby, try to plan your excursion around the time of their nap so that they can have the opportunity to nap while in the car. You may want to pack extra milk bottles or teething toys to have to pass back to your baby in the event that they get uncomfortable or fussy and need some extra support. If there is more than one adult traveling in the car, it can be helpful to have someone ride in the back with your baby to provide them with extra company during the car ride.
Additional Car Seat Safety Tips
Comfort is absolutely important for your baby when riding in the car but safety should always be your first concern. Below, we’ve listed some important safety tips to follow when in the car with your baby.
- Make sure to properly install your baby’s car seat. Check the weight requirements for your car seat and ensure that you have found one that suits your baby’s age and weight. If you are unsure about the installation of your car seat, you can call a local car seat inspector to come safely install the car seat for you.
- For younger babies, always make sure that their heads are properly supported and that their airway is clear. Small babies lack the neck muscles to hold their heads up on their own, so improper head support could easily put them in danger. You may need to get an extra head support cushion for your car seat to make sure that your baby’s head stays in a comfortable and safe position.
- Always make sure that the straps to your baby’s car seat are snug but not too tight. You don’t want the straps to be too loose but they should never constrict your baby or press on their neck.
- Remove bulky clothing such as coats and scarves before strapping your baby into their car seat.
- Always drive defensively and follow traffic laws in order to prevent you and your baby from getting into a car accident.
- Play some soothing music to keep your baby calm while driving in the car.
- Try to stay calm (even if your baby isn’t) because ultimately, everyone’s safety is in your hands as the driver. Your baby may start to get upset while riding in the car and it can be extremely stressful to feel like there’s nothing you can do to soothe them. It is important to try to just take a few deep breaths, stay calm, and comfort your baby as soon as you can.
Your baby’s car seat may be their favorite place to nap, or they may barely be able to tolerate it for more than a few minutes. Remember, every baby is different but if your baby is uncomfortable in the car, it can be extremely stressful and can even take your attention off of the road. Do what you can to make the car seat a comfortable place for your baby and always make safety your top priority.
The Pop N’ Go Playpen is a travel-friendly playpen that can easily fit in the back of any car when folded up!