Happy driver: 19 tips for babies who don’t like driving in cars

19 tips to calm babies who hate car rides

Buckle up baby, we’re hitting the road! Some babies adore being in the car, they’re instantly calm and content – so much so some parents use little road trips to help their bubba’s nap.

And then there are the babies who writhe and scream the minute they’re restrained in their car seat. It can be extremely difficult to concentrate on driving when your bub is beside themselves in the back. Fear not – we have some great tips to try and soothe the car chaos.

We asked the Mum’s Grapevine Facebook community to share their tips for calming babies who hate car rides, and this is what they recommend.

Medical check-up

Many mums swear by different medical treatments to help their car-fearing bubs. Make sure before you decide down any path, to consult your family doctor.

“I would try an osteopath! My little man was so bad, I didn’t want to go anywhere. But he’s a lot better since seeing an osteo.” – Carla Imogen 

“My second daughter was the same, I took her to a chiropractor and she slept the whole drive home. I was amazed as I have never been to a chiropractor myself and was very sceptical but was willing to try anything. ” – Bec Wiggins 

“I found out with the younger one that he had silent reflux so I presume the other one did have as well which made being in the car very uncomfortable for them.” – Angela Paget 

“All my children suffered from car sickness from birth … this was never confirmed but was assumed by our doctor as there was nothing else wrong with any of them. I myself suffer really badly from car sickness and it was until I was able to turn them around, that they stopped crying. The only thing I can suggest to is to try and feed him well and truly before you need to go anywhere. I actually turned all my kids around at six months old because of it and they all stopped crying.” – Kirsty Slater 

“Mine was the same, turned out he had blocked ears for  two years but because he was born with it never knew any different so didn’t indicate ear pain. Grommets sorted it out.” – Karyn Seymour 

“Could be the noise. Something not often thought about but having a sensory kid she hates road noise and cried as baby in car seat! Noise cancelling ear muffs were my saviour!” – Mandy Bannister

“Could be pain in his ears, try opening front windows just a tiny bit to take the pressure out of the car- constant ear problems with my little boy.” – Kylie Kensley 

Distraction satisfaction

Sometimes all it takes is some sweet distraction to get baby back to serenity.

“I saw a song that was designed to make babies happy called The Happy Song by Imogen Heap and it was miraculous for our bub – she literally stopped crying straight away! We often play it on repeat when she’s cranky … did it much of the way for a seven-hour car trip.” – Anna Grimwood 

“I would play his favourite music. Also, wash the blankets in some drops of lavender oil.” – Bronwyn Gwyther 

“I had a giraffe with chimes. That did the trick for my two girls.” – Tanya Dimic Trajcevski 

“My grandson did this so my daughter bought a DVD player for the car and that worked. I believe he didn’t like the rear-facing car seat.” – Marcia Bruder Chapman 

“We use a dummy in the car for Mr Four Weeks.” – Tara Mickan 

“We found that a mirror on the rear seat for little one to look at help to focus and to see themselves can help (this also helped me as a baby mirror on the front gave me vision of little one in the rear seat through that mirror.” – Paula Downey 

“The only things that worked for us were blowing bubbles in the car and trying to get a positive association with the car seat by giving her a tiny bit of chocolate when getting into seat!” – Amy Bose 

Out of left field

When all else fails, try something that’s worked for other mums!

“Whereabouts is the car seat in the car? If on the side it could be the light from the window causing distress, the constant flickering and changes. Is the seat positioned next to your other child’s seat? This can help reduce anxiety if they can see a familiar face.” – Amy Laming 

“Could try a different car seat. Car seat could be painful for some reason.” – Don Barrows 

“Rub inside the car seat. Is there a prickle or something else causing pain?” – Edith Heiberg 

“Too hot or too cold? My little girl hated a wrap/anything covering her seat so she couldn’t see.” – Olivia Holden 

“I switched my first to a different car seat – no more tears. Switched my second from the SUV to the sedan – no more tears.” – Jessica Salas

If you’re hitting the road with your family, make sure you have everything you might need for bub as listed in our article: 21 things every parent should have in the car.