How do you calm a crying infant while driving?

Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 02:58 am
Regulations in Canada (and as far as I know in the US as well) are that infants weighing less than 10kg/22 lbs (say up to 6 months old) have to be seated in a rear-facing child seat in a location with no airbag (or airbag deactivated) - usually the back seat.

My wife and I have been struggling with the following situation when both our children were babies:
You are the only adult driving the car and your infant is crying, requiring you to look back while driving or wait for the next traffic light.

We've tried using special mirrors to see the infant and to establish eye contact but found it quite useless to calm the baby.

How do you deal with a situation such as those?
Have you found mirrors handy? Are there any other devices or techniques that can help address this situation?

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Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 03:21 am
That's a good question...when my son was an infant and still breastfeeding, we didn't yet have that backseat rule for the car seat - the car seat could be in the front passenger seat but facing backwards and I used to just put the tip of my pinky in his mouth until we got home and I could feed him properly - although sometimes - yeah-I'd just have to pull over and feed him in the car (it seemed he'd always get hungry right as I was driving through some dicey neighborhood in East Philly on my way home from work).

I guess I'd just say, give yourself plenty of time so you can pull over if you have to. You're probably in that habit anyway, as when you have an infant, everything you set out to do gets interrupted in one way or another by one or another of his or her needs.

I'd just make sure s/he'd been fed and changed, try to find some soothing music that s/he likes and play it while driving- make sure they're warm enough but not too warm, etc.

But I would hate that car seat in the back seat facing backward rule.
I'd miss the eye contact and opportunity for interaction myself. Maybe you could put something interesting for the baby to look at on the back and side windows of the car - as well something that'd keep the sun from shining in the baby's face.
I guess if none of that works, you just have to stop the car and hold the child til s/he calms, or if you're sure nothing's wrong and you can't do anything about it, try to get to where you're going as quickly (but safely) as you can.
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Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 03:33 am
Many cars have provision to deactivate the passenger air bag, for just this reason. Is it possible your car has this undiscovered feature? If it does, maybe you could use Aiden's idea.
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Bi-Polar Bear
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 03:49 am
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Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 06:09 am
Well, I haven't try becoming a nanny before, or a mother but from what I hear, try putting in toys to distract them or make them sleep by singing lullaby or turning on the radio. Hope that helps.
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Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 07:56 am
Hi shavazo,

The mirror system did help me a lot in that situation. I think it was more for my own information-gathering rather than reassuring the baby though. Like, how upset is she really? Is it because she's hungry? Bored?

Actually singing helped. I'd launch into a loud jaunty tune and if she wasn't seriously distressed that'd distract her, and then she'd listen for a while (it was more a 5-10 minute solution than an extended one).

Most of the rest of making solo trips pleasant was preparation.

- The mirror that was facing her was housed within an Elmo casing and she loved to look at it.

- She had a bar on her carseat with various hanging interesting things.

- Made sure she was dry before we left and tried to time things so she was unlikely to pee/poop when we were gone (as in, she tended to go a certain amount of time after eating; wait that long, change her, then take off).

With babies no amount of planning can account for all variables though and I did occasionally just pull over and park, get in the back seat, and try to figure out what was up.
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Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 05:09 pm
You are endangering yourself and your child: it is irresponsible behaviour: get help, find an alternative means of travel. In England you could be arrested for "driving without due care and attention"
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 08:27 pm
Actually singing helped.

Amazing - but true Soz - I would sing my head off going to my parents house...Any song they were used to me singing when I was around the house - amazing how it comforted them. But - there were times where I just had to let them cry. I would stop at a rest area and get them out and walk around a bit to give them a break - then nurse and strap them back in and head out again - sing sing sing!

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Reply Sat 3 Jan, 2009 04:02 am
Here's how I dealt with it... one word: Vasectomy.
Reply Sat 3 Jan, 2009 04:22 am
that's avoidance - and anyway - it's too late for that now (for the original poster)
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Reply Sat 3 Jan, 2009 10:22 am
What the hell is this supposed to mean? Did you even read the original post?
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