My 3 Month Old Hates the Car!!! - Carpentersville,IL

Updated on December 24, 2010
M.J. asks from Saint Paul, MN
17 answers

Does anyone have any ideas why my 3 month old (turns 3 months in two days) screams when she is in her car seat and driving in the car? She will scream from point A to point B. She is unhappy for no reason as she doesn't need to eat and has clean pants. She could be tired because for some reason she never sleeps during the day (only 5 minute naps here and there). My first daughter was a bad sleeper as well during the day but never minded the car seat. I thought once she hit 3 months or a little before the car seat problem would change but it seems to have gotten worse. I have tried putting a musical toy on her car seat but it doesn't seem to help the matter. She does have a screen on the window that blocks out the sun and since she is so little I don't htink she can see much with the screen through the window. She doesn't like to go in the stroller with her car seat either so I am thinking it has something to do with the car seat and maybe not as much as her looking backwards in the car??? Any suggestions on what to do to comfort her or any suggestions as to why she does this??

P.S. Long trips are sometimes inevitable as we live out of state of family and are traveling for the holidays. I have a 3.5 year old daughter that I bring to and from preschool and to another activity during the week so not being in the car isn't something I can do.

As for the sleep issue someone asked first child was the same way. I don't go out during nap times but my 3 month old isn't on a schedule to begin with. Even if we were at home for days on end she wouldn't sleep even if its quiet and dark.

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answers from Seattle on

My son screamed and screamed while he was in the car, so miserable for both of us.
So I put in a big mirror and rigged it to the back seat right in front of him, ( I used velcro and saftey pins) and it has soft toys that hang off of it, and it plays music etc. I got mine at Walmart for $10 and the crying stopped!

Just make the backseat more interesting and stimulating and you both will be much happier.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I dreaded the car rides with my son when he was about that age. I think after they are over that 'newborn' sleepy hump, they become aware that they are constricted in something and they can't see mom. It's TOTALLY just a phase. She could be car sick, but there really isn't much you can do until you can face them forward. My kid still doesn't like the car that much (14 months) but, he has been leaps and bounds better forward facing. So just stick it out for 10 more months!! Try bringing a friend with you to sit in the back seat to entertain them. I know...really extreme, but sometimes, it's worth it to get some quiet in the car!
good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

my 3rd baby also hated the car, and we had this mirror thing so we could see her that also had music and lights (fisher price) but honestly it hardly helped. I had to sit with her in the backseat, and didnt take her out solo because i couldnt sit with her. It was suggested to turn up the radio, but i think thats ridiculous. She is ok now (9 mo) unless shes tired or its evening and dark. We dont do long trips, nothing is worth making her miserable. I think they feel lonely, diconeccted from us, bored and restricted in the seat.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wichita on

my daughter also hated it. when we'd go visit my family, the first hour would be crying/starting to zone out, 1 hour of nap, then the final 1 1/2 hours of screaming. It didnt stop until we finally turned her carseat around. Maybe you can get a mirror for her?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My grandson went through this phase, which lasted "only" a few weeks. Some folks believe the child could be carsick, which is a good working hypothesis. In my grandson's case, he seemed more unhappy about being strapped in and separated from adoring adults. We would sing loudly to him, making up songs with his name and animals and their sounds, and it usually intrigued him enough that he'd pause in his hollering and listen for the next verse.

Hang in there – this will not continue forever. It will only feel like forever. Be sure to check each time you buckle her in for places that might pinch or rub, keep talking to or singing to her, and keep your trips as short as possible until she outgrows this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Young babies, all pretty much do this.
They outgrow it.

My son did that, up until about 6-7 months old.

And yes, she is WAY over-tired... babies this age typically nap at least 3 times a day. A tired baby, never does well.
Over-tired babies, actually sleep worse, fall asleep worse, wake up more and cannot, sleep well nor solidly.

Do you put her to nap in a crib, and at home????? Or just trying to get her to nap on the go or in the car or stroller???? Do you go by her tired cues???

Some babies will not nap, unless home and there is quiet. My kids were that way and were NOT "portable" nappers, no matter how tired they were. They would ONLY nap... IF at home, and in a crib... and it was QUIET.
When there is too much stimulation/noise, a baby cannot sleep, nor well.
So, since my kids were that way, I was always home... at nap times.... and scheduled myself according to their naps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Some babies go through this when the car seat is facing backwards. Think about it when you are on a roller coaster and it goes backwards it is a terrible feeling. I actually get motion sickness. I know the car seat has to face that way for safety reasons but it really does bother some children. Try to block the window so she cannot see out the window and maybe that will help. Seeing things moving backwards can also make it worse. It's been a while since I had children in a car seat so I am not sure how long the car seat has to remain that way. My cousins baby was the same way and she would have to sit in the back and talk to him the entire way to distract him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Hi there,

I have been through this as well. My son always hated the car. I dreaded trips to the grocery store....6 miles away! If it took me longer than 20 minutes to get somewhere, forget it.
Once I turned my son around to face forward (he was one), he improved almost instantly. I sometimes wondered if he was carsick (although he never got sick). He never even fell asleep in the car until I turned him around, and then I could ALWAYS guarantee that he would sleep each car ride. It was amazing.
I think playing music in the car and singing to him helped the most when I couldn't do anything else. It's so stressful to hear them cry and you can't do anything about it. Hang in there!



answers from Raleigh on

My son hated the car seat. My 4 mo old is ok as long as we aren't stopping and going- living in the city makes that frustrating at times. With both of them, I would turn up the radio to some rock and roll and found that they would quiet down. I am not talking about blasting it or anything, but something about Led Zeppelin and Metallica was/is calming- crazy I know.If you aren't a fan, I think anything with continuous beat or upbeat will do. My daughter seems to also like The Beatles.



answers from Chicago on

My older daughter was JUST like this!! I couldn't get her to like her carseat, stroller, swing - nothing like that! Then she started daycare and I came in one day and she's sound asleep in the swing. I asked HOW they did that and they said they gave her a blanket to cuddle in there. So I tried that in the car, stroller and swing and guess what - NEVER again did she fuss in any of them!! It was a miracle, and a super easy one at that.

AS for the sleep issues, it sounds like you might need some help with that! So, here is my sleep advice for that age...
first make the room DARK - I use black felt on the windows (attach it with the scratchy part of velcro) and have some music playing on repeat continous play (I love Keven Roth's Lullabies for Little Dreamers) and perhaps a fan as well depending on the other noises in your neighborhood. Then ...

try using the Baby Whisperer's EASY method for a schedule, and the Happiest Baby on the Block 5 s's method. Those two combined will make cio not be a needed thing (at that age)
EASY - when the baby wakes up it Eats. After you feed it, then it has Activity - bouncy seat, tummy time, sitting up and playing with toys, swing, exersaucer, etc. When the baby gets fussy check the B's - boredom, butt or burp. If it's none of those then off to Sleep. Don't wait for the baby to do more than get the tiniest bit fussy, then see what is causing the fusses - if it's just that they needed their diaper change do that, but if it's not the activity is boring, the butt is dirty or they have to burp, then put them down. This may happen after as short as 45 minutes, don't freak, it really means they are tired.
Now, to get them to sleep use the 5 s's. Swaddle the baby, hold the baby on their side and sway as they suck on something (paci, your knuckle or their finger/thumb) and make a shush noise. This will calm your baby. When the baby is calm, but not asleep yet, keeping them swaddled lay them in the bed. I like to pat them instead of sway after a minute or two cause you can still pat after they are put down but you can't sway, so pat the baby and continue patting gradually decreasing it as you put them in the bed. Also continue the shushing as you put them down, again gradually getting quieter.
If you do these two you will find a well rested, easily managed baby in no time.



answers from Chicago on

We worked on the Old MacDonald's farm song in the car and invented additional verses about other animals and the sounds that they made. I also asked older kids to tell me what the little one is doing because they are in the back seat.
C. L
Mom of three



answers from Chicago on

my daughter ( now 3 year old) was the same way. she eventually grew out of it. she is still rear facing as well so for those that suggest she cant see anything and that is bothering her that isnt true. good luck its hard! I had to get on the phone to talk to someone or id loose it!



answers from St. Cloud on

I would suggest the chiropractor and see if that gives you results..... Perhaps how your daughter is positioned when in it, she is in pain/uncomfortable??? See if an adjustment helps!



answers from Salt Lake City on

alot of kids dont like the car seat because of the confinement my niece is the same way she cries and is trying to get out of it the minute you put her in it. I am guessing they grow out of it sorry I dont have any advice since you cant just let her be in the car without out I guess you just have to wait it out.



answers from New York on

I could have written your post. My daughter was the same way in the car seat. I see you already got some great suggestions so I won't go into detail except to say we dumped the bucket type graco car seat foe a convertible Britax and put her in the stroller laying down at first. As soon as I could turn that seat around we did and then she was fine. When she was 1 we got a DVD player.


answers from Chicago on

it was simmilar for me too until he was able to be forward facing in the car ... once he turned one we tried it out to see if it would make a difference and AMEN!!! No more screams, all oooh and ahhh, clapping etc. So hang in there. You may want to try a Miracle blanket you CAN wrap them in it and safely place them in the car seat with thier feet out of the "pocket" many babies find comfort in this. We did not find out about it until he could get out of a swaddle :( sad news for us but possibly something for you to try.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Some kids just HATE the car. My son used to scream from the moment we entered a tunnel til we exited it. Like a light switch.
All I can tell you is that you need to tune it out as long as you know she is OK, safe, dry, and not hungry.

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