The following is a guest post byÂ Marcella White Campbell, Social Media Specialist at Citrus Lane.Â
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.Â
Summer travel is comingâ€”and, with it, the traditional family car trip! If youâ€™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 childâ€™s car seat and make sure itâ€™s still fitting her needs.
Check your childâ€™s height and weight against the manufacturerâ€™s requirements. You may be surprised to discover sheâ€™s already outgrown her infant or baby car seat!
Visit aÂ Child Seat Inspection StationÂ to make sure your seat is installed properly. (Theyâ€™re available in all 50 states.)
Make sure your childâ€™s seat is facing the right way. TheÂ NHTSAÂ 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 childâ€™s getting toddler-aged, you may want to buy an inexpensive car seat buckle coverâ€”just in case. When she gets the idea to try unbuckling the harness on the highway, youâ€™ll be prepared!
So youâ€™ve checked your car seat for safety, and youâ€™re all ready to go. But thereâ€™s just one glitch: your child wonâ€™t ride in the car seat at all! Of course, you arenâ€™t going to drive with your child outside the car seatâ€”but driving with a screaming child is miserable for everyone. Here are a few pointers for dealing with the reluctant road tripper.
Comfort.Â It sounds silly, but have you checked to see if thereâ€™s something uncomfortable about the car seat? For example, metal buckles can really heat up in direct sunlight.
Distraction.Â Use all the tools at your disposal. Many parents keep car-only toys for toddlers, so theyâ€™re always new and exciting. For smaller babies, music or car mirrors can work wondersâ€¦and maybe even soothe them to sleep.
Regular Breaks.Â Even adults get tired of sitting in the car for long stretches. If you plan regular breaks (even for a baby or child who doesnâ€™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.Â Itâ€™s tough listening to your child cry, and can put a definite damper on a road trip. You can have the consolation of knowing youâ€™re keeping your child safeâ€¦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 forÂ Citrus Lane, a monthly subscription that sends carefully selected boxes of baby and kid products to happy moms.