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When Baby Hates the Car

All of my babies hated the car, but Eli was the most miserable. He would howl from the moment he got near the seat to the moment he got out. Nothing worked  -- not the old Barney tapes that did the trick for his brother nor the bold pictures his cousin loved. I went through all sorts of mental checklists, worrying about things like the smell of the car or the texture of the seat, but I never could find a problem.

To cope, I kept car rides as short as possible. I chose a pediatrician based on proximity to my house. And when he inevitably let loose, I had a little mantra to keep me from driving off the road: "He is okay." And he was. Car rides got easier as he grew more verbal and capable of understanding my efforts to soothe and distract him. Here's what might be behind your driving drama and what might help.

Cause: Boredom
You can try... A new toy exclusively for car rides, like one that your tot can kick with his feet.

Cause: Loneliness
You can try... A mirror. Or, you can cut out pictures of babies or family members, and put them where your baby can see them.

Cause: Feeling trapped
You can try... Check the car-seat straps to make sure they're not too tight or chafing that thigh chub (but still snug enough to be safe).

Cause: Exuberance
You can try... Since the need to move is strong now, adjust the seat so that your baby has room to stretch and kick his legs.

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