Some babies love car rides, some babies hate them and other babies fall somewhere in between. My baby goes in phases. She loved car rides when she was a tiny baby, but as she’s getting older she seems to be a little less enthusiastic about being strapped into her car seat and confined for an extended period of time (I blame crawling and her newfound independence for this discontentment, but that’s neither here nor there…).
Because of this, I’ve started coming up with various ways to keep car rides fun for her and by extension, fun for me (a happy baby = a happy mama).
Here are 10 things I do to keep Fern happy on car rides…
10 Ways To Make Car Seats and Car Rides Fun For Your Baby:
1. Sing songs
Nothing distracts a baby quite like singing songs. Fern is particularly fond of the “Slippery Fish” song. Most annoying song of all time, but it instantly makes her stop in her tracks and smile like mad so I sing it anyway.
2. Listen to music
My baby loves Jay-Z, so it’s my secret weapon when she’s grumpy on car rides, but really any music is a great way to change it up for your baby.
3. Give Baby soft books
Hard books aren’t the safest to give to baby in the car in the event that you were to get into an accident. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, but just in case, I stick with soft cloth books for car rides, or those indestructible paper books. Fern loves books and they definitely help us out in the car.
4. Stuffed animals
Fern has a little stuffed penguin that I keep in the car for her. She loves to just hold it and babble away at it in the car. I think it’s her little friend.
5. Baby mirror
The baby mirror is the best invention ever (we use this one). Babies love looking at themselves and their facial expressions in the mirror and it’s also nice for me or my husband to be able to peek back at her when we’re at stop lights.
6. Light up musical toys
I’m kind of a hater when it comes to plastic, light up, musical toys. That said, I definitely keep them in the car. I use them as emergency distractions and because Fern doesn’t usually get toys like this at home, the novelty is appealing (and distracting!).
7. Buckle up in the house
Soon we will be switching over from an infant carrier car seat to a “big kid” car seat at which point this won’t be possible, but for now I’ve found that it makes for a much happier situation if we buckle up our baby in the house and then put her car seat in the car afterward. In addition to keeping the little one happy for longer, it’s also easier to adjust the car seat straps and make sure she’s safe and secure when we buckle up ahead of time.
8. Remove extra layers
A hot baby is an unhappy baby, so ditch the extra layers (coats, etc.) for car rides. Not only will your baby be more comfortable, but it’s actually safer too, so that the car seat straps will have the best fit.
9. Add comfy strap covers
I tighten my car seat straps to the point where it’s almost uncomfortable for Fern. Better a little discomfort than a baby who is unsafe in their car seat, but this can mean that the straps rub uncomfortably on your little one’s neck, so purchase some soft covers to go on your straps to make the ride a bit more pleasant.
10. Make up stories
I tell “Fern stories” when we’re in the car. When Fern gets fussy I just start telling random stories about her and the adventures she and our dog Marley go on. They’re usually pretty ridiculous, but she loves the voice inflection and it reminds her that I’m right there in the front seat and that she’s ok.
What do you do to make the car seat and car rides fun for your baby?
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Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.
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