I’m the proud father of a 1-year-old baby girl.

Every time we put her into her car seat for a drive (5 to 20 minutes long), she seems fine and playful for the first few minutes but within no time, she’s crying for attention. She’ll do the cry-stop-cry-stop for as long as 20 minutes.

She’ll reach a point where she’ll just burst into continuous tears. My wife and I have tried toys, Cheerios, cookies, singing and even ignoring her to see if she would stop. The toys, food and singing work just for a minute or two but that’s about it.

We’ve reached the point where we dread going for drives. We know that she’s OK because her diaper is dry, she’s well fed and she’s not tired (when she is tired, a pacifier puts her to sleep in no time.).


You are not alone. Nor is your 1-year-old. Babies were not designed to be in car seats, no matter how well car seats were designed to protect them. Many 1-year-olds hate them. Their energy is likely to be focused on getting up and getting going. Whether they’re already walking or not, at this age, children are intent on moving, practicing their moves, strengthening their muscles, learning to balance and to experience the world around them. So of course your baby is bound to protest until she can get going again.

You say she’s crying for attention, but it sounds like when you give it to her, it doesn’t help. So it may be that she’s just letting you know that she hates being restrained, and can’t wait to get out. Don’t let her until you’ve arrived at your destination. But don’t worry. When she’s older, and takes walking for granted, she won’t mind sitting still as much as she does now.

In the meantime, she might be more likely to settle if one of you can sit next to her and soothe her. You’ll miss out on being together as a couple on your drives during this period, but it doesn’t sound like you could be having much fun anyway with all that screaming. (And of course this won’t work when you’re all alone to drive her.)

The other possibility is that she may be motion sick. That could be why she seems fine for the first few minutes. Does it make a difference if you drive more gently, taking it easy on the accelerator and the brakes, and slowly around the curves? You might try a bottle for her to suck on to see if this helps to settle.

The best part is that no matter what, you are a proud father! Congratulations.
 

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