The following is a guest post by Marcella White Campbell, Social Media Specialist at Citrus Lane.
Update: DISCLAIMER- The photos used in this blog post do not show proper use of car seat restraints. Make sure when using your particular car seat that the restraints fit properly and per the manufacturers instructions.
Summer travel is coming—and, with it, the traditional family car trip! If you’re going to be putting in road miles with your children in tow this summer, now is a great time to check in with your child’s car seat and make sure it’s still fitting her needs.
Check your child’s height and weight against the manufacturer’s requirements. You may be surprised to discover she’s already outgrown her infant or baby car seat!
Visit a Child Seat Inspection Station to make sure your seat is installed properly. (They’re available in all 50 states.)
Make sure your child’s seat is facing the right way. The NHTSA now recommends children use rear-facing car seats for as long as possible, or until they outgrow the height or weight limit recommended by the manufacturer. This may be up to 3 years of age.
If your child’s getting toddler-aged, you may want to buy an inexpensive car seat buckle cover—just in case. When she gets the idea to try unbuckling the harness on the highway, you’ll be prepared!
So you’ve checked your car seat for safety, and you’re all ready to go. But there’s just one glitch: your child won’t ride in the car seat at all! Of course, you aren’t going to drive with your child outside the car seat—but driving with a screaming child is miserable for everyone. Here are a few pointers for dealing with the reluctant road tripper.
Comfort. It sounds silly, but have you checked to see if there’s something uncomfortable about the car seat? For example, metal buckles can really heat up in direct sunlight.
Distraction. Use all the tools at your disposal. Many parents keep car-only toys for toddlers, so they’re always new and exciting. For smaller babies, music or car mirrors can work wonders…and maybe even soothe them to sleep.
Regular Breaks. Even adults get tired of sitting in the car for long stretches. If you plan regular breaks (even for a baby or child who doesn’t need potty breaks) you may be able to head off a car seat meltdown. And, if your child is already mid-meltdown, the break may be just what she needs.
And, when all else fails:
Stick To Your Guns. It’s tough listening to your child cry, and can put a definite damper on a road trip. You can have the consolation of knowing you’re keeping your child safe…whether she likes it or not. And, as many a parent has said before, this phase is temporary. She really will grow out of it!
Marcella White Campbell is the Social Media Specialist for Citrus Lane, a monthly subscription that sends carefully selected boxes of baby and kid products to happy moms.