Driving at Night

Updated on March 25, 2012
M.T. asks from Eatontown, NJ
11 answers

My nine month old is very afraid of driving in the dark. SHe screams and cries the entire time she is in the car at night. Durring the day she loves the car and gives me no problem. My three year old was the same way until she was a little over two and now she is great. We are planning a road trip from New Jersey to Michigan which is a 12 hour drive and we wanted to drive straight through the night hoping that both kids would sleep the whole way but now I am wondering how my 9 month old is going to be. We are not leaving until July so she will be one by then and we have a dual DVD player to keep my three year old occupied until she falls asleep. WHat have others done durring road trips with young children? Any ideas on how to help my youngest get over her fear of being in the car at night? I am also trying to decide if I want to turn her carseat facing forward durring the trip so she can see the DVD player or just leave her rear facing.

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answers from San Francisco on

Make a Mobil out of glow sticks. They're awesome and inexpensive. I wouldn't let a 9 month old hang onto them because I wouldn't want them chewed on. In a pinch you could get a plastic soda bottle with a screw top lid and drop a glowstick into it. It's bright and can be shaken around.


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answers from Dallas on

Don't turn her around!! Every child expert out there, and the National Highway Traffic Administration says not to. It's very dangerous. Our state just changed the laws to say 2 and under must be rear facing, instead of just recommending. Her safety is not worth the risk.

Can you get a night light? We have one for my son, that is an LED nightlight from target. It can go 8-10 hours unplugged. Perhaps, you could bring that and turn it on when it gets dark. They are very child friendly (In animal shapes) and small. My son falls asleep holding his often. It was only around $12.00. Take short trips at night and allow her to get used to it.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I'd get the book light and try that. I had one for my daughter to read by in the car and it worked well for that. The added light might calm her.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I would not compromise her safety by turning the car seat around.

I would try to buy one of those DVD players that hang flat from the back seat head rest. Or just try & rig it somehow so it is safely sitting right next to her.

Try doing a lot of "dry runs" around your neighborhood when it gets dark.

Also, buy a lot of new little toys she's never seen. I do that for EVERY trip for my son in order to save my sanity. I hate road trips. ;)

Btw, keep an open mind that maybe you'll drive the trip in 2 six hour spurts to save your sanity. It might just be worth it. And drive mostly during daylight hours w/plenty of stops.

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answers from Appleton on

You can get book lights at Family Dollar. They have a clip on one end and a long skinny flexible neck. They don't have a lot of light but enough so the car is not completely dark. And you can bend the neck so the light doesn't glare in the driver's eyes.

Sorry I miss wrote this the lights are at Dollar Tree. sorry :-(

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answers from Bangor on

First, NEVER turn the carseat around until she meets ALL of the requirments (height, weight, and age). There is no compromise when it comes to the safety of your children.

Second, taking short trips in familiar areas starting at around sunset and ending after dark could help her adjust to night traveling. It could be that she is afraid of what she can't see. The reading light could be useful also, and in other cases it makes it worse as it creates too much glare to clearly see out the window, which is usually the issue. The best way to tell is going to be by trial and error. Eventually, you will find what will help her stay settled in the car.

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answers from New York on

i would try testing it out and turn the car seat around put the dvd player pn and just drive around the neighbor hood at night and see if u get a different reaction out of her

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answers from Boston on

If she transfers well, I've always been a big fan of leaving in the middle of the night. If you put the kids to be early, take a snooze yourselves and then get going after midnight, they should sleep for a good bit early in the trip. Then, it'll be light out and there'll be no problem.

Also -- don't switch for convenience what is needed for safety. In other words, if she should still be rear facing, she should still be rear facing. Period.

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answers from Los Angeles on

if it were me i would turn her around for the trip (the drive there and back) then the rest of the time keep her rear facing. that way she can see the movie etc...

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answers from Chicago on

I wouldn't turn her around yet, even if it's just for the trip. To me, it's just not a good enough reason to compromise your baby's safety just so she can see the DVD player.

As far as the fear of the dark, I'm interested to hear your responses. My son has recently developed this fear, and the only thing that soothes him is to either hold my hand, or have me sit in the back seat next to him, which is not always practical or comfortable. Sorry I can't be much help there, but I hope you get some good tips!



answers from New York on

Lol. I live in jackson and am from michign i have done that drive many times! We are flying there in 2 weeks Nd are planning on driving in july also. I haven't read what other responded but what about turning a light on in the back? Then she will be able to see. We havent taken the drive yet with out 7 month old. But did many times with my 4 yo. We always left early in the morning. Like 4 am. He would sleep for a little while. Then we Stop for breakfast and get changed out of pj's. He watches the DVD player and I bought those color wonder things so he could color but it wouldnt get all over. We also brought toys and books for him to look at/play with. Maybe leaving A that time would be better for you. Then it will be light out- you get there at a decent time and won't be completely exhausted from being up all night. Good luck and sFe travels

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