Screaming Baby in the Car !?!

Tricia - posted on 02/23/2011 ( 12 moms have responded )




I have a problem, which is frustrating me somewhat as I am finding that I am just not getting out the house at all anymore. My little baby who is now 12 weeks old screams everytime we get in the car to go anywhere. I have to place her in the back seat of the car due to airbags in the front. I find my self pulling over and hopping in the back with her to try pacify her.. then we have smiles and she is ok, then when we are on our way again - the horrid screaming starts and just gets worse and worse!!! Anyone have any suggestions that may help??


Jayme - posted on 03/01/2011




My son did that for the first 4 months of his life. We finally switched his car seat from a infant to a convertible type and it helped a lot. Also, I know how hard it is to hear but stopping the car and getting back there with her is NOT the way to go. You'll have to do that forever. I have 3 kids. Only my son was like this and it did suck. Hang in there.

Mary Renee - posted on 02/26/2011




I had the same issue with my daughter. Sometimes we still have the same problem, but one thing I've found to work is to put her in the car when she's very sleepy (or asleep, if you can swing it with out waking her) and usually my daughter will fall asleep in the car with the rumbling of the engine. We have the Graco travel system so I can put her in her carseat on top of the stroller prior to putting her in the car. I'll allow her a nice long nursing session prior to leaving, and then put her in the carseat in the stroller when she's very tired. Then I put the car seat in the car. If she's still awake I smile and act positive, but I don't go crazy because I don't want to get her all riled up after I got her tired. Then I pray that she goes to sleep. I'll go to the mall or the grocery store and before I leave, same thing, I'll even nurse her in the car before we leave. It gets her tummy full it gets her happy and if I'm lucky she sleeps the whole way where ever I need to go.

Now that she's older (9 months) I take the sun shade off of the carseat and even though she's in a rear facing carseat in the back seat, she can still look up and to the side and see me driving. She thinks it's so funny to see me driving.

Sometimes she still gets fussy in the carseat, but if she's well-fed and her diaper is changed and clean, it makes a big difference and once we start going and the car is moving, usually she'll calm down a few minutes into the ride. Another thing that might happen is if you start doing things on a schedule and run your errands at roughly the same time every day. It's hard to have a real "schedule" with a baby that young, but it can't hurt. Maybe something like this. Wake up. Nurse baby. Little play time. Mama gets the diaper bag ready. Diaper change, and nurse. After that second nursing, use the next hour or two to do your errands. Then change her and nurse her right before you leave. And then come home. The actual time doesn't have to be exact, but if she gets used to the pattern she might just accept it as "car time." I do this with my daughter. She's on solids now so I always feed her a solid breakfast, give her a little play time, nurse her and change her. Take her on a walk for an hour (for my own exercise) and then nurse her again, put her in the car and run errands. She used to HATE the car and scream and cry. But it seems like as long as I stick to this routine she expects to go in the car and run errands and calms down.

Hope this helps!

I try to distract her too, by singing or turning the radio up or even clapping if I'm at a red light.

Sarh - posted on 02/24/2011




They have mirrors that you can put on the back of the seat that she is facing... it should allow her to see you and you should be able to look in your rear view mirror and see her.
My bubby would scream, but he would stop shortly after we got going. If she is fed, clean diaper, and not hurt then she will be fine. They have musical toys with lights you could hook to the back of the seat. Or turn the radio on (not loud) and sing to her...

Melissa - posted on 02/23/2011




Maybe get a mirror, and some hanging toys, and some baby music.....Do you use a pacifer? My son loves his paci when we are driving!

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Jenni - posted on 03/01/2011




My SD was the same way. My son was soothed by car rides. And my daughter was the same way as my SD. Both SD and daughter eventually grew out of it at around 5 or 6 months. What I found that helped my daughter was placing her favourite activity stuffed octopus on her lap. The crying pretty much subsided after that. And like I said by 5 or 6 months she didn't need him anymore but I still bring him along.

Crystal - posted on 02/27/2011




Try having a friend or family member sit back there wit ur baby, Thats the only way mine would be calm in a car,

Steph - posted on 02/27/2011




my lil 12 week old has and does this too! I purchased a mirror with music and lights for him. He loves it. He has a few favourite toys he has started to play with i put with him. I play music for him and talk to him :) This has helped alot. Also i nurse him before we go anywhere, burp him, change his bum and snuggle him. He doesn't take a pacifier :( But i hear this helps! Good Luck mama!

Mary Renee - posted on 02/27/2011




I do not recommend Crying It Out. There are two different types of crying, one might be a little short weak cry for just a minute or two before they go to sleep - but if they're crying a strong cry for longer than that it's increasing their stress level and sending cortisol through out their body. They aren't self-soothing as much as their "giving-up" on the idea that their parents are going to be there for them - which is kind of sad.

According to Erik Erikson's theory of development, infants main task in their cognitive and emotional development in the first year and half of life is "Trust vs. Mistrust" If you are there for them and always respond to their cries they learn that the world is a place where they can trust their parents to be there for them. If you ignore their cries they learn to mistrust.

That said, if your little one is crying and you're five minutes away from the grocery store, I wouldn't stop, I would go ahead and get to the grocery store as fast as you can. But if you're letting your infant cry for more than that I wouldn't do it. Besides, even proponents of "Crying it Out" don't recommend you let them cry until at least 6 months... 12 weeks is way too young, in my opinion, to take Rebekah's suggestion. 6 weeks is way way too young.

Here are some outside resources that back up what I'm saying:

(this site from baby center actually provides instructions on Crying-It-Out but says you should wait till they are 6 MONTHS old, not 6 weeks.)

(this provides some explanation of Erik Erikson's theory of development)

Rebekah - posted on 02/26/2011




How do you usually put her to bed at night or down for a nap? Is she used to you rocking, nursing, or soothing her to sleep? I ask, b/c I found that when my children screamed in the car the first few months of their life, it was a result of not knowing how to self-soothe. So, if you think she may just be overly tired, letting her cry without talking, singing, or stopping to stimulate her, will be the best thing for her.

Example: We took my daughter on a 10 hour road trip to FL when she was 6 weeks old. On the way there, I sat in the backseat and tried everything possible to keep her happy. She basically screamed the whole time and it was a nightmare. On the way back, after reading "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" I sat in the front seat and would ignore her cries when she was fed and dry. She would fall asleep within minutes and stay asleep SO MUCH longer than she did on the way there.

Elfrieda - posted on 02/26/2011




Another suggestion is to have a CD playing with her favourite music, with you singing along. My son would always quiet down for "Baby Beluga" by Raffi.

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