Why Some Babies Hate Car Seats and What You Can Do to Help

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Car seats are one of the most important things you can buy for your baby. Driving in a car seat is safe and simple: You place the baby in the correct safety seat and buckle it. Sometimes, parents have difficulty finding safety seats that fit correctly or ones with good recline angles. You might worry about what your child will think about being held in the front passenger seat, but research shows that most kids like being held by an adult—especially if it’s someone they trust. Some babies even prefer being near other children as they age, so parents should consider where other occupants are sitting when buying a car seat. Here are some reasons your baby might hate car seats and how you can help make them more tolerable.

Car Seat

There’s No Adjustment for a Growing Baby.

If your baby is in a convertible car seat, you might notice that the straps don’t adjust very well. This is because the straps are designed to fit a baby in a car seat for a particular age: Infants tend to grow almost twice as fast as kids, so the belts that adjust for growing kids don’t fit well, either. If you’re using a stroller or a pack ’n play, try adjusting the straps to fit your growing baby. In most cases, though, you should probably use a car seat.

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Car Seats Are Too Big.

If you have a baby at least 20 pounds (10 kilograms) at least part of the time, you may have trouble finding a seat that’s right for your car. If so, you may want to try a smaller car seat. But generally, the safest and most effective way to seat-size your baby is to use the car seat that comes with the car. This way, you get the best protection for your baby and the car seat. If you’re unsure which car seat to use, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a helpful guide to choosing the best fit.

Some Babies Are Ornery and Will Not Let You Put Them In.

Some babies try to stand up for themselves and demand to be put in a car seat. This isn’t a good idea; riding in a car seat is safe, and you should always be willing to put your baby in the safest seat possible. There are several safe, effective ways to get your baby out of a car seat: Use a pushchair or small stroller to move the seat to the ground (and back home with you) if your baby doesn’t budge from the seat. If your baby frequently gets in your face and won’t give you the car seat keys, you should probably consider changing car seats.

The Covers Aren’t padded or Comfy Enough.

Parents often worry about their baby’s back against the seat, back smacking into something hard, but research shows that this rarely happens. The only way your baby’s back will contact the seat back is if you use it as a pillow, which most parents do when they’re not actively using the car seat. The main problem with hard plastic or vinyl car seats is that they don’t provide a good enough cushion to protect your baby’s spine. And soft, infant-sized car seats don’t provide enough padding to protect your baby’s soft, young body. To get the right protection, you should probably go with a padded, polyurethane-coated car seat.

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Car Seat

You Don’t Know the Right Age.

You should probably start looking for a new car seat when your baby is about 10 months old, but some parents don’t know. Begin the search by looking for Safety First car seats: These are the safest, most advanced models on the market. But don’t rule out other brands just because you do not make them. Some of the best car seats are the ones you never think about buying. Keep in mind that older kids often outgrow car seats. Most car seats (unless you purchase a costly one that infants only use) will fit kids up to age 5 or 6, but many kids age 5 or 6 are too heavy for them by then. To find the right seat size for your child, use the car seat guide of your manufacturer.

Your baby is too small for a car seat.

If your baby is under the age range to use a car seat, you should probably consider getting them a smaller model. Most safety seats come in small sizes, so you should be able to find one that fits your child. Ensure that the seat is big enough and that your baby is old enough to use it properly.

When it comes to car seats, you should try to make all the right choices for your baby. Choosing the right seat for your baby is the most important thing you can do. And while it’s important to buy the best car seat in the world, it’s also smart to shop around and get a deal on a cheaper model before buying in bulk.