My 18 month old absolutely hates the car

Christine - posted on 06/09/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I am at the point of pulling my hair out. My husband and I have been dealing with my child's dislike of car seats since he was born. No matter how long he was in the seat he would cry. After around a year he developed an earsplitting screech that echos off of every surface and makes every nerve in your body ache. It's not just in the car. He hasn't learned to talk at all yet, and I have been monologue-ing my butt off. He says bye-bye, and sometimes da-da. Very rarely ma-ma and baby. (which is strange because I have been a stay at home mother since six months). I know that most of the screaming and horrible fits he throws every five minutes throughout the day are probably frustration from not being able to communicate, and I have been trying different things... time out, quiet time, and teaching... to calm him. The car, however is a completely different story. For starters, the sound is so loud and in such close quarters that it is actually extremely painful. I have gotten earaches and migraines from it. We have tried CIO, ignoring him, giving him different snacks, juices, milk, water, a variety of toys, all different music at all different volumes, books, windows down, singing to him, rubbing his legs, holding his hands, being stern, screaming right back (not at him of course, and never as loud), changing his diaper, changing his outfit, pulling over and letting him run around (which is a whole-nother mess because he refuses to follow us or listen to us). NOTHING has worked. Somethings are a mere distraction but after just minutes he is back to his scream fit. It has gotten to the point where we rush through trips, and even stay home just to avoid it. But we have to drive sometimes. And long trips, 1+ hours which is usual for us because everything seems to be so far away, it is just torture. He never even naps in the car. And when we get out to use the restroom or stretch our legs, getting back in is even worse. I can't take it anymore and don't know what to do. His next doctors appt. is next month where we will hopefully discuss speech therapy, but I know that will still take a while to work enough to help him communicate.

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Maggie - posted on 06/11/2012

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I thought Sensory Integration too. One of my daughters has this, although the car is not a problem for her. Some kids find certain kinds of motion or noise overwhelming. Therapy can help a lot.

The speech is also worth checking out. It could be related. Perhaps his hearing is impacted.

Good luck

Christine - posted on 06/11/2012

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We actually put him in the forward facing seat when he turned one also, his legs were so long they were resting up the back seat! But he was happy when we did that for about a day, ever since then it was basically the same. Since my original post he has developed a rash and very high fever, and he got three new teeth and has two more coming in. I am wondering if maybe once it's all over with he will be a little better.



And we have the DVD player, just got it this last week. He only liked it for about 5 min before he got fussy again, we went through at least 10 dvds and none will keep him interested longer than that.

Kelina - posted on 06/11/2012

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is he rear facing or forward facing? I'm going to get a whole lot of shit for this but if he's rear facing and over twenty pounds you might try facing him forwards to see if that helps. My son was very similar-would scream and scream not matter how long we were in the car from five minutes to a couple of hours from pretty much the time he was born. The day he turned one we turned him forward and he was happy as a clam. If it doesn't help you can always turn him around again, but a friend of mine put it to me this way. It's a matter of weighing risks. If you are constantly frustrated and stressed out in your vehicle an trying to figure out what to do with him, and distracted by his screaming you're more likely to be unable to concentrate on your driving and get into an accident. Otherwise, maybe see if you can get him into the doctor sooner.

Neva - posted on 06/09/2012

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What does his pediatrician say? It could be that he has a sensory integration problem and the noise of the car or something else about the car really bothers him more than it would anyone else. I think he needs a full developmental evaluation, not just speech. Kids with sensory integration problems can have extreme anxiety about new situations, changes in routine, textures, sounds, tastes, etc. and react in the only way they know how to communicate. I don't know where you live, but if you are in the USA you should look up an early child intervention program in your area, or child find, organizations that can help with evaluation and therapies.

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Heather - posted on 06/11/2012

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Try taking him to a specialist and have him checked out for a Sensory Disorder.

Elfrieda - posted on 06/10/2012

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I don't have any advice about the car, my son doesn't stand more than 20-30 minutes, either. Music helps. Maybe earplugs for you and your husband.

But for the frustration tantrums around communication, try teaching him a few signs. Just "more", "all done", "drink", "please", "thank you" were enough for my late talker. You can learn them off youtube.

Christine - posted on 06/09/2012

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Thank you for responding! I haven't seen the pediatrician since his well child visit at 12 months, his next one is in a few weeks. His behavior didn't get so terrible until a little after the last visit. The only thing that she seemed concerned about was his lack of speech, but said to wait until after 18 months to look into it. I think I might mention what you had said to her at the next visit.

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