DVD Players in Cars

Christa - posted on 07/03/2010 ( 35 moms have responded )

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I didn't want to hijack Sharon's thread so I thought I'd start a new one. . . . .

What do you think of the DVD players in cars?

I personally can't stand them and I swear every mini-van or SUV that I see has one on at all times. I think you DEFINITELY don't need one for normal everyday travel and as the oldest of 4 who took road trips everywhere we went you don't need them for road trips either, though I can see why people would. We went from Denver to Dallas (850 miles) every summer, not to mention a million other roads trips all over the US. I've been in every state west of the Mississippi river because of these roads trips. Would we have loved a DVD player, of course. But I'm glad we didn't. I've never been a big reader (I'm getting better with age) but road trips were the only time when I would actually read a book just for fun. Not to mention the car games we would play and the works of art we would create. :-) Some of our funniest family memories are from one of our crazy road trips, we often refer to ourselves as the Griswolds. lol! I'm so thankful we weren't just watching movies the whole way. Also kids now days watch way too much TV as it is. So I personally don't think you need a TV in your car.

What do you think?

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I agree with Mary Elizabeth. Every summer until I was about 13 we took a vacation four hours away to Pensacola, Fl. After that we started going further. When I was 13 we drove the 24 hour non-stop journey from Louisiana to Washington DC. Each year we picked a different region of the continental US and went there in our car. I saw 45 of the 50 states with my family by the time I'd graduated from high school, from the backseat of our family car. The trips wouldn't have been nearly as educational or memorable had my sister and I been glued to a movie. Yes, we brought magazines and portable CD players. At certain points in our journeys we were told to put them away so we could see something new, that we'd never seen or experienced before. DVDs are one step up from magazines and music in the entertainment and mind-numbingness of children. I'm not totally opposed to DVDs in a vehicle, especially if you take the same 10 hour trip over and over again. Or if the children are too young to understand and appreciate what they are seeing out the window. But absolutely not for everyday use or family trips that are meant to be about family togetherness and exploring a new place.

[deleted account]

I think they are useful for long trips (over 3 hour drives).

I was bored to tears when we traveled because though I was an avid reader, I could not read in the car without puking.
We have and will again, use a dvd player with some of our baby signing time discs and sesame street discs for William when we go from our place to my in laws, which is an 8 hour drive. Ideally we try to drive through the night while he is sleeping, but that doesn't always work timing wise when renting a car or having to be there for a set time.
We found that if we popped the dvd in around the 3-4 hour mark it saved us from having a screaming toddler for the last half the trip.

As to its use in every day driving. No. Children should not need to be entertained every moment they are sitting in a car. They can talk, sing, or play I spy or look for interesting things out the window.

They have their place, but they are way overused.

I view a dvd player just like a game console. My brother had a game boy he played when ever we went on long trips. He was two years younger then I. But he wasn't allowed to bring it when we were just going to the grocery store or around town.

So really it depends on what you use it for.

C. - posted on 07/04/2010

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Oh and they have trays that strap to the car seat and you can get those Crayola Color Wonder books/markers..

ME - posted on 07/03/2010

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Wow...it's so funny...My family drove to Lake Okaboji, 550 miles away in NW Iowa every summer until I was 11, then we started driving further: Tennessee, DC, Maine, CO, N Carolina...Those are, without a doubt, some of the BEST memories I have from childhood, including the car rides. With 5 kids, I'm sure there were a few arguments, but totally worth it for the memories!

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Jodi - posted on 07/06/2010

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Ah well, I'm off on a 3 hour trip tomorrow with my friend and her 3 kids in the car too. So 6 kids in the car in total......(it's an 8 seater, don't freak out!!)

Don't know if I could get through THAT trip without the DVD players :P

Tara - posted on 07/05/2010

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We don't have one, every week my girls go to their dad's and they do 1 hour in my van and then another in his car on Thursday and then we do it all again on Sundays. We have joint custody and so we split the drive and meet half way. Neither of us have nor want a DVD in the car, that's the time my girls spend talking with me about their week and on Sunday we talk about their weekend at their dad's house. We play games (going on a picnic, the Geography game, Buzz, word games, math games and other silly games we make up along the way.
Sometimes they sing along with me to the radio, sometimes we sing songs they are trying to learn, sometimes we're all more quiet and just look at the beautiful Northern Ontario scenery go by. I wouldn't buy one, but I would probably borrow one if we were going to be on the road for more than a day (like a cross country trip) but even then it would be only for one movie and only if we were desperate for some down time,
:)tara

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P.S. I forgot to mention that the 2 TV's in the head rests were already in the vehicle when we bought it! We did purchase the one up front and replaced the older one that was there!

Cyndel - posted on 07/05/2010

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We listen to book on tapes. for long car trips you can rent a book at any cracker barrel and return it to a different one on the road when your done and get another. It is a great way.

[deleted account]

Haha! We have three in my SUV.....one installed up front.....the deck comes out and flips up into the screen. There's also two in the second row of seating.....one in the back of either head rest! We LOVE them....they come in handy! Does it mean that Roxanne watches movies 24/7? Nope!

C. - posted on 07/04/2010

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@Sara B.. My son is 2 and we've never had one in the car as of yet. He has been creative at finding ways to entertain himself. We bring toys along and he plays with those.. He 'sings' along to the radio like we do.. he watches out the window to see all the neat things out there.. There are a lot of things LOs can do, actually.. Just sayin..

Becky - posted on 07/04/2010

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We have one, and my 2 year old loves it. Although, his movies drive my husband nuts and he doesn't like the headphones, so he watches it without sound. He's too young to read or play too many car games yet, and I get carsick when I read in the car, so I can't read to him, so it's great for him on longer trips. We still talk and sing and stuff, but he likes to have his movie on too. I really don't have a problem with them. I can see as your children get older, encouraging other pastimes in the vehicle, but I agree with Sara, for little kids, they are wonderful!

[deleted account]

We have one in the car (we got the car used and the previous owner had it installed) and it's only been used once. Last summer we drove 2000km from Ontario to Nova Scotia and at one point our 18 mnth old was getting antsy so we popped in a DVD. He watched one maybe two Baby Eintsteins and it hasn't been used since. If it hadn't already been in the car, we wouldn't have gotten one. And it's not something I would be looking for when buying a car.

Sara - posted on 07/04/2010

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I have one, and we use it a lot. We have a half hour commute in the mornings, so what's the big deal with a kid watching a little Dora? I don't view it as being detrimental to their development because what the hell else are they, and I mean little kids who can't read or do other things, going to do instead when strapped into their carseat? I hardly think that a little TV in the car is going to hurt them. As they get older, I can understand the point of using it less, but for a toddler, it's a freakin' lifesaver.

Aliska - posted on 07/04/2010

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I'm totally against them and we do big road trips as family holidays. Whatever happened to imagination, finding the shapes in clouds etc. When I was kid I would read and just enjoy looking out the window at the changing scenery. I admit that it was easy for me as I was an only child and didn't have to share the backseat!
We often use audio books on our family trips, the kids are old enough that we can find something we all enjoy and listen to together.

Krista - posted on 07/04/2010

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I could definitely see the benefit of them on long trips. For every day, no. But for those long family trips? Oh yes. I would have loved one of those when I was a kid. I couldn't read in the backseat, because it'd make me barf.

I'd never get one installed, but would consider a portable one. It's a 5-hour drive to go see my mother, and much of the highway is just through woods. So there's nothing exciting to see.

Lindsay - posted on 07/04/2010

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We don't have one but I'm not opposed to having them either. It would not ever be an option for just driving around town daily but they could definately have their benefits on long trips. When we take a long trip, the ultimate goal is to get there safely, timely, and as peacefully as possible. Whether it be letting the kids watch a movie, listening to music on their headphones, coloring books, games, or whatever they are all just tools to make the time pass more pleasantly.

Jess - posted on 07/04/2010

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I'm planning on getting a portable one installed for my 1 year old ! On my working days we spend over an hour in traffic coming home for the city and its painful for her and us ! Non stop screaming the entire time purely because she is bored, toys hold her attention for minutes at a time before she discards them onto the car floor.

A few educational baby dvd's would help reduce the pain for all of us !

C. - posted on 07/03/2010

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Unfortunately, this is one thing my husband and I CANNOT agree on.



He wants to get one installed when we get back to the Mainland, I do not. I don't think children need them. We used to go from North Dakota to Pennsylvania and then on to West Virginia, then back to ND when we were younger.. Then it was NY to PA to WV and back to NY, then it was SC to WV to PA and back to SC.. We never once had a DVD player or anything like that.. My mom didn't even buy us video games! Heaven forbid we actually had to read, draw, play cards on top of the cooler lid and yes, we even dug out the Etch-A-Sketch.. I think there is so much creativity that can be honed in on when you take long trips like that.. I just don't see the need for them.



My husband, on the other hand, grew up with all sorts of Gameboys and stuff like that, so he wants our son to have it all, too. It's something we'll have to compromise on further. I already got him to compromise that he won't get one installed until we are back on the Mainland and our son HAS to be AT LEAST 3 years old already. But I want him to compromise that it won't be used on short trips and definitely not an everyday thing.. We'll see.

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I think it can make sense for young children to have a video because they are too short for looking out the window or what have you? Derrick mostly looked out the window on our 9 hr road trip to montana last summer. He's pretty used to roadtrips though...we do 3 hr ones 4x/yr., have 5 hrs every other yr, montana is about every other yr too, we do 1hr trips quite regularly...

My parents drove w/6 kids all across the US. I don't imagine it was always great, nor do I really remember it because it was mostly under the age of 7, but no DVD player would have given me more elbow room, kept someone's head from resting on me, or probably made less fights...w/6 kids w/in 9 yrs I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have agreed on what to watch for nothing!

Elisabeth - posted on 07/03/2010

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I don't have one installed in the car, but I do have a portable one that hooks over the back of the carseat and can be used in the car. But I only use it about 3 times a year, when we have to drive for 7 hours to the nearest city. I don't use it on short trips only really long ones, and I don't have it on the whole time. Sometimes I'll sit in the back and read/play with them instead. In moderation I think it can be a real lifesaver, but not for short trips.

Sharon - posted on 07/03/2010

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LOL Sharon, with my family, I never know whats going to happen so I always take my laptop with me. I keep a couple dvds floating around in my case so we're covered.

Maybe one day we'll both be in tucson at the same time with relatively nothing to do, lol.

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"100 miles from our house to tucson - they don't bother to break out the dvd player."

OMG how ironic! We're in Mesa, so about 100 miles to Tucson from here. Back in December we went for a day trip to the Pima Air & Space Museum and took the nephews with us. But no DVDs figuring it was less than a 2 hour drive. On the way home there was an accident and we were stuck on I-10 in the slowest single lane for MILES! Oh, how I wished we had my dad's portable DVDs then!

Joanna - posted on 07/03/2010

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We have a portable dvd player that we use for flying (otherwise my daughter is a loud mess, and I feel bad for the other passengers). If we take a long road trip (more than 2 hours say), we might bring it along to save us a headache, because she's a wiggle worm with a short attention span... unless Mickey Mouse or Yo Gabba Gabba is involved. So I can see how they'd be helpful.

Andrea - posted on 07/03/2010

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We have a set of the portable one and only use them on long trip. Such as the trip that we took from Iowa to ohio in march. Haven't used them seen march since we rarely leave done. I wont object to own them build in i the van, suv I was looking at had them but I wont go out of my way to find a vechile with them in it.

Jodi - posted on 07/03/2010

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Mine are only portable :) I wouldn't bother getting one installed. The portable ones have straps to attach them to the front seats, so I don't see the point really in having them installed.......especially as the portable ones are so cheap these days.

[deleted account]

No, I will never get them installed in a vehicle. Actually, I have heard that it's insanely expensive to repair if they break. We go on our road trips, and never had a portable DVD player up until a month ago. I bought it for our long plane ride, our layover in the airport, and then for the rental car. I won't lie, the DVD came in handy. But I would never use it for day-to-day travel. Actually, my sonlikes his LeapPad and VSmile to play with in the car. I also have a portable white board that he can color with too, and we play the spelling or math game. Sometimes when my husband is driving, I'll sit in the back with my son and I can read to him, or color togethr on the white board. Over our vacation, he learned how to sort of play the game Hangman and now he loves it! So no, no DVD in the car!

Sharon - posted on 07/03/2010

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My kids read a ton. But reading in a car can make some kids car sick - my younger son is one of those. I'm not sure how the dvd player is different than a book but it is.

When we drove to california - 550 miles - the laptops (dvd players) were a godsend. They played their nintendo Ds lite games, watched dvds, the older one read a little, but the dvds were the main entertainment.

100 miles from our house to tucson - they don't bother to break out the dvd player.

They look for slugbugs, play I spy, sing with the radio, or play their video games.

We moved back & forth across the US Fl, Ga, Tx, AZ, Al, Fl, AZ, I would have chopped off one small toe for a dvd player. In texas we played "count-the-dead-deer-on-the-road" through Mississippi, we played "how-long-can-you-hold-your-breath-while-we-pass-the squished-skunk?"

I know that before every road trip my mother about had a nervous breakdown anticipating the fighting, screaming, crying & eventually puking from us in the back seat. Under certain conditions I would get car sick from reading too.

Nope. I was utterly fucking miserable on those trips and I won't do that to my kids.

Rosie - posted on 07/03/2010

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i'm not keen on them either. my FIL has a portable one, and if we wanted to borrow it we could. we don't really ever go more than 2 hours away, so not so useful. i've passed down not being able to read in a car without feeling like i'm going to puke, down to my eldest, a DVD player would be nice, but it's just not necessary to me.

Johnny - posted on 07/03/2010

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We don't have one in our car and wouldn't buy a car that had them installed. But we do have a portable one that we use for long trips. When I say a long trip, I mean 8 + hours in the car. There is really no amount of conversation, music, sing-a-longs and games that can keep small kids occupied in a car for that long. So when we exhaust all the other options on the trip, our daughter gets to watch some Curious George episodes. But for every day use, no way! Not even for a 4-5 hour drive. There are enough games & nap times to cover that.

I do wish we'd had one when I was small for those reasons. I could not read in the car, I got seriously car sick. And my parent's idea of a nice trip was 6+ hours a day in the car. I grew to truly despise the view of the back of my mother's head. I used to get into fights with my dolls to pass the time. I think if it's used on a long trip when all other options have been finished, that it is fine. But normally, I don't see any need for tv in the car.

ME - posted on 07/03/2010

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NO THANK YOU! We don't even have a TV/Cable in our house...Conversation, and music are just fine with me!

Jodi - posted on 07/03/2010

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We do quite a few road trips (actually every other weekend, it is a 3 hour round trip to pick up and return my step-son), so the DVD player has been very handy over the years (as have the Nintendo DS Lite's). I know we don't NEED it, but it takes the pain out of so many road trips. We don't use it all the time, but we are certainly glad be bought it.

[deleted account]

I could see them being useful (occasionally) if you're in the car for much more than an hour at a time. We only drive an hour and half at the most and that's only once or twice a year though, so we'll never consider one.

[deleted account]

I'll never have one in the car. I'd consider it for long trips, but I'd be borrowing a portable one, not buying. Like you, we took a ton of road trips as a family. I'm sure I wouldn't have learned nearly as much had my nose been stuck in a dvd player.

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