35 answers

Screaming in the Car

I need help. My 6 week old sometimes will scream in the car. In fact if he's not asleep before I get him in the car then he screams. I've tried checking the seat, changing the temperature in the car, made sure he was fed and had a clean diaper and anything else I could think of. I usually have to get in the backseat and hold his hand and talk to him until he eventually goes to sleep and then the slightest noise can wake him up and even stopping at a light sometimes he'll wake up and the process starts over. I spoke with the dr nurse (his dr wasn't there at the time but another was) their solution basically was to just deal with it and he would eventually get used to being in the car. We have pretty much gone on car trips every day since he was a couple of weeks old. I would think he would be used to it by now. Some trips are fine and he sleeps well in the car the whole time we're in the car but there bad days are getting more frequent. The dr's office is suppose to call me again today with hopefully a solution because I basically told her that "deal with it" was not a solution. Any suggestions? My husband and I are suppose to travel to his mom's in Dallas and I'm praying that there won't be screaming for half the trip. HELP!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone who responded. I plan on trying them all to see which one works for us. For the trip to my MIL we got to Georgetown with him screaming and I had my husband pull over and my 7 yr old and I switched so I was in the back. I fed him a little more and put some Lavender Lotion on his clothes. Once we did all of this I put him back in his car seat and talked to him a little he was out and slept the whole trip there. We started this process before we left my MIL for the drive back and he slept the whole way back. So we figured out the long trips now we just have to figure out the short trips. Unfortunately I can't just stay at the house like someone suggested withbaseball games and practices, groceries and everything else but I do try to try to space them out when possible.

Thank you again to everyone who responded. It definitely makes me feel better that the solution is not to just deal with it.
Thank you,
M.

Featured Answers

My daughter did this for awhile too. I started taking her clothes off of her until we got where we were going. Then I would redress her. I hope this helps.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi,

My son is 9 mos. and has finally grown out of the car crying stage. Whew! The only thing that helped when he was younger, was cracking open the windows. If he gets a little fussy now, If I sing to him it helps.

Good Luck!

My daughter did this and it was discovered (accidentally) that she loves Heavy metal rock (much to my horror), but when it was playing on the radio she stopped crying and when it wasn't she screamed. I only tell you this to say try every kind of music you can find and see if you have a freak kid too :o)! Good luck, it is hard to live with I know!

More Answers

do you have a portable dvd player that he can listen to the chatter with? are you stressed while driving. those itty bitty babys pick up on that stuff fast. try soothing music. we had a light up frog toy that he loved playing with. sorry i dont have any better ideas other than making sure no sun is in his face and he is soothed, comfortable too. good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

I'm sorry to tell you, but this is completely normal and they do eventually grow out of it. Hang in there! It's painful to hear your baby cry and not be able to fix it!

2 moms found this helpful

My daughter did this for awhile too. I started taking her clothes off of her until we got where we were going. Then I would redress her. I hope this helps.

2 moms found this helpful

My husband and I learned early with our first (of three boys) that my voice would calm our baby in the car. Oh, I could be saying "what a pretty day" over and over again, just as long as I was talking! I do wonder if having all clothes, but diaper, off will help. I didn't try that myself, though, I would want to keep a thin cotton cloth or blanket between his skin and the seat straps.

One other thought is to have a mirror in the back of the car -- I found one framed with a teddy bear that went on the top of the back seat (there was some sort of fastener but I recall ending up with safety pins with our cloth upohlstry). Looking in the rear view mirror I could see his face in the mirror and, I believe, he got a kick out of being about to see me!

And, for me, we went through a period of time (I don't remember how long) where I would sit beside him in the back seat. That presents the problem of hardly being possible. Just thought I would mention it anyway. See if a relative can drive you two on errands or best friend.

Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds to me like your baby is car-sick. I was when I was a baby and my son was too. As I got older the car-sickness got better, but it wasn't until I was around a year old when I stopped screaming in the car. My son stopped crying and screaming when he moved out of the infant car seat/carrier and into the bigger seat. The doctor told me that the larger seats are more stable, so it was likely that he felt less movement once he was out of the infant seat.
I've read what the other Moms wrote, and I agree you should try soft music, a mirror, and talking to your baby. It might help and is at least worth a try.
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Unless there is something physically wrong with your baby, I don't know what you think the doctor is going to be able to tell you. This is quite common for babies this age and I understand how much it can grate on your nerves, but you are going to have to figure out a way to deal with it.

I installed a clip-on car fan that would blow over my baby's head and she really loved it. It was partly because she was getting too hot facing the rear.

My little one was breastfed, so I limited the use of the pacifier...but the car was definitely one place where she could have it all she wanted. You baby just may be feeling his first pangs of abandonment when he can't see you.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

It could be his hearing like motion an you should get a car mior so he can see you his eye site it just comming into focus. Some kids just don't like the car unfourtnly. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My husband and I wore out this one cd that we had played when I was pregnant. It was the ONLY thing that worked....sometimes! My son was totally fine in the car in the day, but the minute it was getting dark, he screamed! It wasn't fear of the dark, bc he slept in his room in the dark so we had no idea and still don't really. It is so hard to take and gets you so frazzled. He really didn't stop for a long time, sorry! I think that probably music is your best bet. Of course maybe a toy from his room that he sees at home that smells like home. Also I know a lot people put up those mirrors to help with that as well, plus you can see him when driving. Also just check and recheck everything. Make sure your carseat is a the right incline for his age, that there is nothing irritating that could scratch or stick him and that the air can get to him fine. I wish you all the best, I know that can be soooooooooo frustrating!

1 mom found this helpful

Our daughter went through this for a while.. We had always played quiet music in her room at night, so we put that music in the car. It really helped.. Also we would talk to her at all times.. Look at the sky.. oooh, the birds are flying, red truck on the right.. Even though she was an infant, hearing our voices helped..

I also think some kids get a little car sick. So see if you can wait a few minutes after feeding to let your childs tummy settle.. before placing him in the car..

They do not have anything to look at and get queasy.. Our daughter also is very warm blooded so we would make sure to use the thinnest blanket on the car seat and dress her lightly even in the winter since the heater was on.. I like the fan idea... We purchased sunglasses and a hat when she was about 12 months. She always put them on when we went outside and this helped even in the car..

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter hated the car seat until she was at a year, when we moved her from the infant car seat to a convertible. That helped some and I wish we had done it much earlier. It just continued getting better little by little. Turning her around to forward facing helped a lot, but we weren't able to do that until she about 21 months old because she's tiny and that's when she reached 20 lbs. The mirror people have recommended also helped, but the car seat safety people tell you that they're dangerous in a crash, so not to have them, just so you know. If CDs don't work, try singing to him yourself, without any music on - that helped my daughter sometimes. As did talking to her, as others have mentioned. My daughter didn't use a pacifier except in the car, and it sometimes helped. One other thing that sometimes helped was rolling down some or all of the windows. I don't know if it's the sound or the feeling of the wind on their face, but I've heard from other moms that it helped their babies as it did ours.

One last thing - does your baby have problems when he's in a reclining position in other situations, like for sleeping? If so, you might look into whether or not he could have reflux (including silent reflux, in which they don't even spit up more than normal - stuff refluxes into their mouth and they swallow it so it burns the esophagus going up and down). Sensory issues (especially vestibular ones) can also cause babies to be uncomfortable when horizontal, or not vertical.

It does get better, but I just didn't go anywhere more than 5-10 min away by myself with my baby until she grew out of it. We did take a few trips, and we always flew if we could, and then rented a car and drove to our destination so that the driving part was as short as possible, and half of that was spent with me hanging over the car seat (getting totally car sick) breastfeeding her while my husband drove! She's 2 now, and it's MUCH better, but still a problem if she's tired or it's dark outside. She started crying yesterday in the car seat (because she was tired and wanted to be close to me) on a 7 min drive coming back from Whole Foods!

I feel for you, but it will get much easier as he gets older!

Hi,

My son is 9 mos. and has finally grown out of the car crying stage. Whew! The only thing that helped when he was younger, was cracking open the windows. If he gets a little fussy now, If I sing to him it helps.

Good Luck!

My daughter did this and it was discovered (accidentally) that she loves Heavy metal rock (much to my horror), but when it was playing on the radio she stopped crying and when it wasn't she screamed. I only tell you this to say try every kind of music you can find and see if you have a freak kid too :o)! Good luck, it is hard to live with I know!

where to start...

first of all, the nurse is correct in that some children just do not like being in the car and will cry. I had one who was that way myself...and honestly the ONLY possible thing IS to tough it out, unless you are planning to unnecessarily medicate your child.

Having said that... Your son is 6 weeks old...aside from trips to the doctor, where are you going with a six week old baby? The majority of people with infants at this age do not have them in the car that often. they spend time at home bonding with the baby, getting sleep when he/she does and setting up schedules for feeding, nap, bath, and bed time in the hopes of gettign back to a somewhat normal life by the time their precious little one is sleeping through the night.

If you are constantly out and about with your infant and you do not have to be, you are risking his health for him to get very early colds, flus, ear infections and possibly even RSV.

Please do not hear that I am trying to alarm you, or even to tell you that you are a bad parent. I am just tryign to understand why your child is in the car often enough for this to become such a huge problem. IF you are a working mom and your maternity leave is up and you have to start taking him to day care...and this is what brought up the situation, then I am very sorry for your situation and your ear drums.

It is very difficult to be the driver or passenger in a vehicle with a child who displays this type of behavior. I was a single mom with my oldest (the one of my kids who presented with this problem) and I had to deal with it as well. There are times when you HAVE to be in the car and so does your kid. the only thing you can do is try to tune it out and hope he falls asleep. He WILL grow out of it.

I personally believe that children who display this trait are children who do not like the feeling of being strapped in and unable to move around. While at 6 weeks your son does not move around that much, the car seat and restraint system does prevent much of the limited movement he is used to having the freedom to do. Plus keeping his age in mind, he may feel lonely cause he can't see you or your husband...

So try keeping up a steady stream of talk with him when he is awake...point out things as you pass even if he can't see them and tell him about them, or sing to him. This way he will know he is not alone and forgotten somewhere...

Other than that or medication, I am really sorry, there is just not much to help with this situation...

Good luck and I hope things ge better soon!!! ;-)

I see that there are many many babies who do the same thing my daughter did. She would also scream for 5 minutes to 1 1/2 hour trips. It was terrible. I would have to stop and take her out to calm her down just to put her back in the car for another round of screams. My nephew cracked the backseat window one time and she STOPPED. Just plain stopped. I wondered if it hurt her ears? After that, when she would not stop, i cracked the window and it seemed to settle her down. The best thing when i was able to turn her around and that really made things much calmer.
Good luck.

My daughter did this as well. I would get so upset! Even on an hour long drive or a 15 min. trip, I would have to pull over & take her out of her seat & comfort her, sometimes several times. She would NOT stop screaming. Finally, I found a mirror that faces her, but I can see her in my rear view mirror, it would light up & play music. It has a remote control so that I can make it play music & the lights start up. I got it at Babies R Us for under $20 I believe. This helped alot. Eventually she got better & now loves the car rides. She is now 2 yrs old. I hope this helps, I know it is upseting to say the least. Good luck!

Ride in the back with him if your husband is along. When you are by yourself, turn up the radio. I know it sounds horrible, just loud enough where you can still hear him without being absolutely too loud. You will both get thru this, some kids cry at the vacuum some kids get quiet. That's the theory!! Good Luck :)

Hi...I feel for you. Sounds exactly like my baby boy! He is now 9 months old and finally does not scream in the car anymore (unless he's tired and cranky past the point of falling asleep). He pretty much screamed in the car everytime without fail until about 7 1/2-8 months old. I tried everything..toys, music, mirror, clean diaper, comfy temp, comfy clothes, well fed, singing...everything! Nothing seemed to work...except singing. He would stop everytime i sang but you can only sing for so long. I think some babies just hate their car seats and would rather be held and they'll let you know loud and clear. Eventually your baby will grow out of it once he becomes more aware of his surroudings and can look around. I still have never done a road trip because of the crying...so I wish u luck with that! I wish I had some better advice but just know that you're not alone and he'll eventually get over it. Try singing..def helped me. Good luck.

Hi M.,
My sn did that too. It can be the images speeding by are frightening him. Try covering him so he can't see out when you are driving. We had to do this for a long time. Even light was traumatic t my son.
Good luck.

you probably have him facing the back and maybe he doesn't like that. Things disappearing so quickly might disturb him. Try making a tent to cover his seat and place a little tape recording of your voice beside him so he'll know he's not alone. Be sure he has a favorite toy to play with..

Good morning M.,

I had the same problem with boy 9 yrs ago....he was my first baby and I didn't want nothing to bother him.....at home everything was extremely quiet....Big mistake!!! I couldn't go no where because the noise bothered him until my doctor said that i had to have a normal day....when he was napping for me to vacuum, have tv or radio on....so he could get used to the noise....it took awhile for him to get used to the noise but eventually he got used to it...I now have 3 kids and with all three I trained them to handle noise....believe it or not but when they were babies...i was able to vaccuum their rooms and they would be sound asleep....i never had that problem again...

At 12 days old, my daughter started the same thing. It came down to the fact that she hated being strapped in and restrained. There was a lot of screaming and unhappiness most of the time when we drove. I don't have any suggestions but it did get better at 1 year when we were able to turn around her carseat and she could see more.

Hate to tell you but our son was exactly the same way. Would scream hysterically every time we went for a car ride and wouldn't sleep in the car at all. It was so bad our solution was to move to Europe where we didn't need a car and could walk everywhere (I'm partially joking but we did move to Europe when he was 2 months old and he didn't get in a car again until he was 18 months). He eventually just outgrew it.

Smile, I had the exact same problem. Sometimes noise toys, particularly ones that sound like you help. Mirrors helped a little. I had the funkiest mirror system going where I had a small one attached to my review mirror and another facing my son. Sometimes seeing a glimpse of my face would help but mostly touch, like it sounds like your child likes. I know that someone recommended putting something that smells like you (shirt or something) in the seat with them to help calming. My son had a tough time until he was able to sit up and look out windows. I don't know if it was the pressure in his ears or just being unable to see. Oh, and we also had an infant car set with the sliding shade. After a while, he loved looking at the animals on the shade but yours is still a bit young. Good luck. It isn't easy. I also ended up buying soothing music (for myself!). When I was driving by myself, sometimes it helped calm me if not him. =) Hang in there,
T.

I'm so sorry, I know how frustrating this is. My daughter screamed in the car for about 4 months, we would rock her carseat while at stops, I even remember getting out of the car and rocking it while in a drive through, it was awful. Then, one day I discovered white noise. She had always slept with the sound of a fan, so I decided to turn the radio to an off station and turn up the static sound. She immediately fell asleep. The white noise was pretty annoying, but it sure did beat the alternative. Then we eventually started using the convertible carseat instead of the carrier and that seemed to help too. I really hope this helps you, it is not easy driving when your baby is screaming. Hang in there and hopefully it will pass or this will help for a while. Good luck!

For the 1st 6 months, I have to ride in the back seat!! Babies are screamers and they want to be held. So, if they don't stop screaming with a bottle,.. you can pull over and hold the baby for a while or just sit in the back behind the driver seat and hold the baby but of course, put on your seatbelt. I've gone through it 3x's!!!! have you tried baby toys? the ones that attach to the car seat? a mirror so they can see you?

Hi M.,

I have a 6 week old baby too. He screams in the car as well and it really upsets me. Honestly, I hate to tell you this but, the doctor is right. I think they're just gonna have to learn to deal with it until they get old enough to hold a pacifier in their mouths. If you go on trips with your husband, why don't you sit in back with your child and hold a paci in his/her mouth? That's what I do. Also, since he only doesn't cry when he's asleep in the car, I try to get him to sleep about 20 min before I know i'm getting into the car. I'll put him in the baby bjorn which puts him to sleep and then i'll transfer him to the car. Don't worry too much (i need to listen to my own advice!) because I think most babies do this and there's not much we can do about it, other than moving to a city that doesn't require driving! Good luck and hang in there ;0)

I have a 7 week old who has the same problem from time to time but it is getting better. Whenever I have another adult who can drive I sit in the back with her and settle her down with her pacifier. Good luck and pray for patience, it will pass eventually!

I don't know if this actually works because my kids are all grown. BUT I saw this on TV and thought it made great sense and I wished I had it available when I had my babies. It is called sounds of the womb. It is supposed to calm babies. Let me know if it works. http://daddytypes.com/2004/09/13/womb_sounds_cd.php

Oh honey, I was there not too long ago. My daughter hated the car until she was about 5 months old. I had to take a couple of road trips that were about 3 hours and I had to leave at 6:00 in the morning so she would sleep. I got one of those car mobiles and lots of things that dangled from her car seat. It helped for a while. I also put an essential oil blend on her feet called Peace and Calming. Some people say they could get car sick and crying is the only way they can tell you. I had to travel to Arkansas over Christmas and she was almost 5 months old. We had to put a lap top on the seat with Finding Nemo on it. It got us there and back!
Just try leaving really early and make sure he is getting AC in the back seat. Try not to drink a lot of caffeine on the trip. You will need all the patience you can get. Caffeine will make you more anxious and less able to handle your baby crying.
I hated going any where for 5 months. And one day it just worked itself out.
Good luck! Dont forget to breathe!

Hi M.,

We had the issue with our son when he was first born. The problem continued until the day we turned his car seat facing forward. I think he was getting car sick with his car seat facing backwards.

My first born did this too. It was so difficult because we went from being a very active family to preferring to stay at home because she hated being in the car so much. I strongly believe she got car sick facing the back. Things that helped were things to focus on - purchased a light up and music playing toy that attached to the back of the chair - she liked it because her feet activated it. We also played soft music on the cd player which seemed to help calm her. On long trips we just had to let her cry it out and go to sleep. We chose to travel either during nap time or at bed time. Once we turned the car seat around at 14 months things improved greatly and now that she is 2 1/2 there are no issues at all.

Our 2nd child, 8 months, has never had an issue and loves being in the car seat, so I really think this is something they are born with and there really is little you can do to make it completely go away.

It would be great for a quick fix, but I don't think there is one on this.

H.

My Middle child was that way. He hated the car seat, not necessarily the car. He also hated the car at night. THat was the worst! We ended up not going on trips with him at night (which is tough when all your family is 3 hours away)! He did get over it.

Your little boy is getting worse because he is awake more. Try one of those mirrors that attach to the front of the head rest. Also try some soothing music that you played when you were preggo, if you have any. That worked well when my oldest got fussy. There were CDs that NEVER left my car because they were the only things that kept them calm on the trip to Grandmas!

If all else fails, there is benadryl, but use that as a last resort. It doesn't always make them sleepy, sometimes it wires them up.

Good Luck!!!!

Hi M.,
I work in the holistic world and look at things a bit differently than those who are not. You are in a very difficult situation. Your 6 week old, from the sounds of it, is reacting to something he is seeing, feeling, smelling, or etc. Until the issue is dealt with the baby will probably continue reacting until he is able to adapt to his problem.
If you would like to talk more about it, I'll be glad to do that ~ ###-###-#### Lorraine

Have you tried soothing sounds while in the car? Try listening to Sara HIckman's CD Newborn, a must have! Or earplugs will save your sanity while he screams. Otherwise we had much success with Ocean sounds as white noise in the car and at home.

My middle one did this till she was about 3 months. My youngest on and off till he was about a year out of bordom. I don't have any advice, but it looks like some of the responses have some good ideas. Hang in there. We just took deep breaths and gritted our teeth. I know it's hard. My oldest only did it a few times, and once I finally took her out and held her for the rest of the trip. (short trip, obviously, wouldn't recommend doing that) I just couldn't take it. It's easier after the first to just bare with it. Blessings!

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