This past weekend marked a milestone! We turned Hunter’s carseat around! You’ll realize why I am so excited about this when I tell you how difficult Hunter has been in his carseat.
Since he was only three months old, Hunter hated sitting in the carseat. Most babies fall asleep easy in the car. When I was a baby my parents would go for a drive for no other reason than to put me to sleep. My son however, hated it.
Both sets of grandparents lived 3-5 hours away so long car trips were frequent. The first few trips were absolutely miserable with Hunter screaming through a majority of the ride. We would try talking to him, singing to him and even sitting in the back with him. Anything we tried had a momentary effect, if any at all.
We soon realized that he hated being stuck, staring at the back of a seat. He is a kid who likes to see the world. I hung my iPad in front of him with some baby videos and it made a significant difference. Still, he didn’t enjoy being in his seat for too long by himself. He could see us in his little mirror, he wasn’t satisfied by that.
Family members bought us a car DVD player for the holidays and he quickly became entertained for longer periods of time with the help of Paw Patrol and Thomas the Train. DVDs with multiple TV episodes seemed to do better than longer movies. But, he still would get antsy on the longer trips and often fuss for our attention.
We first believed he needed to reach a certain weight to turn his carseat around. Hunter is very active and a challenging eater so we feared that it would take forever for him to reach that weight. But at his two year check up, our pediatrician told us we could turn it around anytime because his spine was developed enough.
A few weeks after that appointment we were going on another 5 hour trip to visit my wife’s family in New York. We decided to turn his seat around for that trip and what a difference it made. Of course, he still wanted the DVD player to which he had become accustomed. He was clearly happy to be able to see us during the trip. He was continuously pointing out the windows to all the different things he could now see. Maybe it was a coincidence but he also seemed to sleep better forward facing.
The SAHD truth is that not every child shares the same reactions to similar situations. Be creative. Guess, test and revise what you can possible do to make car rides a little more tolerable for your child and in turn, more tolerable for you.
Are there any creative ideas you have come up with to help babies or toddlers better enjoy car rides?