Parenting Hacks: Car

parenting hack

Parenting Hacks: Car


Driving in the car can be a scary and dangerous task but adding children in the mix can add a whole new element. I recently shared an article published on my Instagram account, which highlighted a poll conducted through Safe Kids Worldwide. This poll found that 10% of new mother were involved in car accidents when they drove with their baby. According to statistics, this is 3x higher than the general population! This is an alarming rate and pretty terrifying to think about considering a mother’s main motivation is to keep their child safe. So, what can we do to keep our children safe in the car? First off, we need to limit our distractions while driving. Because mothers are so preoccupied with attending to their children, this often distracts their ability to be fully present while driving in the car. Here are a few tips to help limit fussy babies and nip complaints from children, to hopefully limit distractions, and keep our focus and attention on the road.

parenting hack

Parenting Hacks: Car

5 Tips to Calm Fussy Newborns & Babies While Driving:

*Before attempting to calm a fussy baby while driving, pull over to make sure baby is not hot or cold and their buckle is adjusted probably. If all variable has been considered and your baby is merely unhappy with being in their car seat, here are a few options to keep baby calm while driving in the car.

1.       Have white noise and/or favorite CD to calm them: One of the “S” tips from Dr. Harvey Karp, was sshhhing. This helps calm newborns and babies, because of mimicking the muffled noises they heard while in the womb. You can either travel with a portable white noise machine and place next to baby when they begin to fuss, or if you have forgotten one, you can try and turn to static station on the radio to create your own white noise. Once the newborn is a bit older, they may prefer some calming music. There was a CD we kept in the car that came with a music class we attended. My daughter recognized the songs when I played it and would quietly listen every time it was on. Singing along to the songs will also help calm a fussy baby.

2.       Roll down the window: This can be a great distraction to a fussy baby. If you are cruising on the street and weather permits, roll down their window if they begin to fuss. The loud white noise and the wind will keep them interested and engaged for a while.

3.       Reachable basket: Having a basket in the center console filled with items you can hand your baby when they begin to fuss, while you are stopped at a red light, to prevent having to look for things quickly. Have as many items as you may need to last the car ride. Know when your baby drops the item, you will not be able to pick it up, which is the point of having a basket filled with items you can blindly reach and hand back. For me, I would keep a basket of pacifers, because I could reach back, while stopped at a red light, without taking my eyes off the road and place it into my baby’s mouth.

parenting hack

4.       Mirrors that light up for your baby to look at. The article I mentioned before did highlight that mirrors are distracting for parents, because they end up looking at the mirror to watch their baby. This mirror is JUST for baby to look at. Place it right in front of them, so they can look at themselves. When the mirror lights up and signs, that’s an added distraction for baby which can be helpful when they begin to fuss.

5.       Slinky: hang a slinky on the handle bar on the roof of the car, just above the window. The slinky moves and bobbles on its own while the car drives. This offers lots of visual stimulation and wonder to your baby and can help keep them distracted and content while driving.

Tips to Keep Complaints at Bay from Toddlers & preschoolers While Driving:

1.       Having a Car seat tray, so they can place on their lap and play or color to keep them occupied while in the car.

2.       Reachable tray for them and/or you in the car to hand them items while stopped at a red light. For us, we always need to have the following items at hands reach for a smooth car ride: sunglasses, band aids, capstick, snacks, wipies, tissues.

3.       Book light to attach to their car seat so they are able to stay awake and active on drives home at night.

4.       Portable radio that they can operate and listen to

5.       Car toy bin: Keeping a stack of toys in the car, just for car rides. Enough toys for the child to have 4-5 new toys every other day or so for the week. Once you buckle them into their car seat, hand them a bag of some swapped out “new” toys to keep them interested in during the car ride. OR, you can let them pick 3 items before each car ride, from the car toy bin.

***UPDATED INFO*** Anyone have a Houdini child who has figured out how to maneuver out of his car seat? My 2-year-old son! It is not surprise that my kids continuously keep me on my toes, but when he was hanging out of his car seat while I was on the freeway, I panicked! What on earth will keep his buckle on? He figured out how to slide the chest buckle down, then take his arms out; not safe! Our solution? These chip clips!

Looking for more parenting tips? Check out Tips to baby cool on a hot day and mom hacks.

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