Why Do Some Babies Hate Car Seats? — Tips for Happy Trips

Babies show a broad spectrum of reactions when riding in a car seat. Some babies love it and blissfully relax as a vehicle rides along the road. However, for others, it’s like the chair of death. They’ll cry in anguish, scream, and make a big fuss when placed in a car seat. We explore why some babies hate car seats — and offer tips so your little one can have happy trips. 

Improper installation or uncomfortable position could be why your baby doesn’t like car seat

Baby sitting in a car seat, highlighting why some babies hate car seats and how to address it
Baby in car seat | Alexander Grey via Unsplash

There are a variety of reasons why some babies don’t like their car seat. However, two of the most common reasons are the improper installation of the car seat and an uncomfortable seating position. Your baby could be crying because they are actually in pain from sitting in the car seat. 

If your baby has an adverse reaction to a car seat, then the first thing to do is check to make sure it’s properly installed. Follow the installation guidelines according to the manuals for both the car seat and your vehicle. 

After checking the installation of the seat, take a look at the seating position. One problem is the straps might be too tight. This can result in placing too much pressure on a baby’s belly. It can also restrict their breathing and cause choking. Other potential problems include an uncomfortable seating angle, a seat that causes a hunched position, and inadequate padding. 

Additional reasons why some babies hate car seats

Baby standing by steering wheel of car, highlighting why some babies hate cars seats and how to address it
Baby by steering wheel | Carl Figuracion via Unsplash

If you check the installation, seating position, and other comfort aspects and your baby still dislikes their car seat, it could be due to various other reasons. As detailed by Chiropractic Place and Today’s Parent, this includes:

  • Motion sickness
  • Boredom
  • If your baby ate food recently, the car ride could cause an upset stomach.
  • Dislikes being alone
  • Aversion to confinement and restrictions for playing with their hands
  • Sunlight shining on them through the window
  • The air temperature is either too cold or too hot.
  • Bunched-up clothing
  • Tightness in the muscles or ligaments
  • Medical issues, such as a chiropractic problem or reflux in the stomach

What to do when your baby doesn’t like riding in a car seat

As covered earlier, if your baby hates riding in a car seat, the first thing to do is check to ensure that the seat is properly installed. Then check the seating position, the straps, and other aspects of the seat that could cause discomfort.

A particular car seat might also be a bad fit for your baby, so it’s worth upgrading to a better one. When your baby’s health and happiness are at stake, you don’t want to skimp on quality. There’s a great deal of variance in the quality of car seats. There are some cheap, low-quality ones, but it’s not worth putting your baby at risk. It’s better to opt for a higher quality one, even if it means paying more money.

There are also some measures that you can take to calm and distract your baby during car rides. This includes playing nursery rhymes or other music, giving toys to your baby, and offering them a pacifier.

Additionally, it’s best to not go for a ride immediately after a baby eats to avoid stomach issues. Also, consider testing out different feeding schedules. Furthermore, it’s helpful to burp your baby before placing them in your vehicle.

If your baby still wails and hates it anytime they’re in a seat after taking these measures — then the aversion could be due to a medical issue. Discuss the matter with a pediatrician or another medical professional to diagnose the problem.

Hopefully, you can soon solve the riddle of your baby’s dislike for car seats so that they can have an enjoyable time on your excursions. Happy travels with your little one!