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Car seat crying - help!

(15 Posts)
ExistentialistCat Tue 10-Nov-09 09:56:19

18 week-old DD has not been keen on the car since she was about 4 weeks old, but it's been getting worse and worse lately. She starts to cry pretty much as soon as she's in the car seat and can get REALLY upset, scratching her face and sobbing in the most heartbreaking manner. If she's tired enough, she'll sometimes go off to sleep after a little while, but otherwise she just keeps crying - no sign of settling down on her own (the longest I've had to leave her like this was half an hour, by which point I was sobbing, too). As soon as I pick her up, she's fine.

It's got so bad that I avoid car journeys as much as I can. I just can't figure out why this is happening or what to do about it. We've tried:
- Me being in the back with her while DH drives. Works up to a point, but once she starts getting upset, no amount of attempts to distract her will work.
- Talking/singing to her constantly so she knows I'm there. This sometimes seems to make things worse!
- Taking the car seat out of the car before she goes in it so that it isn't uncomfortably cold.
- Dummies, toys, muslins, blinds/no blinds.

I'm wondering about disabling the airbags and having her on the passenger seat where she can see me, but since being in the back with her doesn't always work I don't know whether this is a solution.

Has anyone else had this experience? Did you find anything that helped, or is it a case of just waiting it out?

3littlefrogs Tue 10-Nov-09 10:00:13

Ds1 was like this - he did eventually get better.

The only thing that crosses my mind is the possibility that she finds it very uncomfortable. Did you have a long/difficult or instrumental delivery?

Cranial osteopathy might be worth a try, just to see if she's got a misalignment somewhere.

kateecass Tue 10-Nov-09 10:04:42

Could try a sheepskin liner.

If your car seat fits on top of a pushchair could try pushing baby in it to get her used to it.

Poor was about the only place DS would go to sleep!

OmniDroid Tue 10-Nov-09 10:17:03

Can I second the sheepskin liner?

DD was like this. She DID like to be in the front (airbag off), but it's not as safe and DS would have been soooo jealous that I didn't want her to get used to it. In the back she would cry for literally the whole of a 2 hour journey. We tried toys, me in the back, mirror for her to look at - all no help. I was beginning to avoid using the car, difficult with family over 90 miles away.

I bought a sheepskin liner from John Lewis (not cheap, about £40), but it has changed things utterly - she hasn't had a prolonged in-car crying fit since we started using it.

mamasunshine Tue 10-Nov-09 10:19:16

I have exactly the same problem with DS2 who's 19 wks. My parents have moved an hr's drive away and he screams through the whole journey sad. Interesting about the cranial osteopathy, will be booking an appointment asap! I did take DS1 to an osteopath when he was about 8 wks old as he'd been delivered via c section and he seemed to go from unhappy with lots of things to pretty much content overnight!

MmeLindt Tue 10-Nov-09 10:24:18

I would not put a baby in the front ofthe car. The back is safest and once they get used to sitting in the front you will have a battle to get them in the back.

Make sure the car seat is warm, I used to pop a jot water bottle in it, or the sheepskin liner mentioned already.

Do short trips every day, even if it is just 5 mins.

If you avoid driving them it makes even more traumatic as it is then a rare thing and often then a lon drive.

They do get used to it, eventually.

stickybean Tue 10-Nov-09 11:14:33

I second the crainial osteopathy, worked wonders for my DD. Also nursury rhyme music.
Someone told me not to try and talk to her to calm her down as she was too young to understand why i was there but not coming to rescue her, funnily enough this made me feel better, i stopped franticly (sp) trying to put on a soothing voice and calm her down and just bit my lip instead!

Seriously though, crainal osteopathy can work wonders.

Oh, one more thing, my dd was much better when i removed the head hugger, i think that was uncomfortable and restrictive for her... she does have a big head though lol!

PurpleCrazyHorse Tue 10-Nov-09 15:29:31

Our DD is 12 weeks and seemed very crammed in with the newborn insert (head hugger and wedge under bum for lying flat). She's big for her age and once we removed it she looked more comfy and seemed happier too.

ExistentialistCat Tue 10-Nov-09 20:42:44

Thanks for your ideas, everyone. SO much more constructive than my parents' advice: 'You just need to be stricter with her. Tell her in a very firm voice that she is not allowed to cry in the car.' Yeah, that'll really help a distraught four month-old...

I can't imagine that it's physical discomfort, as DD is perfectly happy in the car seat when clipped on top of her pushchair. But I'll give the sheepskin a go...

Birth was very straightforward (water birth at home), no trauma. I did go to a cranial osteopath in the hope of help for DD's bf problems, but it made no difference at all.

So, stickybean, you don't think it's just my singing that's upsetting her? Have tried not talking so much today and at least I feel under less pressure.

I guess I'll just keep trying in the hope that she gets used to it eventually.

JackBauer Tue 10-Nov-09 20:55:02

My DD1 was like this until I bought a dangly mobile thing from ELC that walloped her in teh face everytime we went round a corner and played some godawful version of twinkle twinkle little star that made me want to drive over it repeatedly.

But it shut her upsmile

cakefaced Tue 10-Nov-09 21:18:38

DD still hates her car seat at 6 months. I'm sorry to say, but I have to get where I'm going, and she has to be in the seat, so she howls and I grit my teeth. It doesn't hurt her, she stops the minute the car stops. I just accept that she doesn't like it, but thats life. Its worse because she is no 2 and No 1 needs to be driven places.

I tried toys to distract, they work for a while. She just wants to see my face and like you I have found singing simply makes things worse.

carolynandjack Sat 30-Jul-11 22:49:11

My baby did this i used to hate going out in the car.... he seemed to get better when i changed his car seat it had to be rear facing initially and was a bit of a faff to get him in but was obviously a better position for him... I also had mickey mouse etc playing on a dvd player which distracted him... i thought i would never do all this but it is so distracting when you are driving. He is now 7 months forward facing and no probs in the car so it does get better... but i know it doesnt feel like that at the time xxxx

tallulah Sun 31-Jul-11 20:00:52

My DD did this. It got to the point where we didn't want to go anywhere because she would just scream, even with someone else in the back. We put her into a forward facing seat as soon as she was able to sit up unaided and it stopped.

Interestingly though, she is now 4 and is car-sick every so often. We wonder if rear facing genuinely made her feel ill?

newbroom Sun 31-Jul-11 20:09:55

Like Tallulah my first thought is car sickness (as sitting in a rear facing seat would certainly make me feel queasy!) - not sure if there's much you can do about this unfortunately until she can go in a forward facing seat.

KatyS36 Sun 31-Jul-11 21:15:05

DD was exactly like this until she was about 6 months and then it stopped. I posted about it on MN and got lots of sympathetic responses along the lines that my dc was like that but it eventually stopped.

We tried to minimise car journeys as much as possible and eventually she settled down.

Good luck and it is a phase


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