Parents and Traffic: What to do When You’ve Got a Crying Baby in the Car


Every parent has been here at least once: you’ve got your baby in the car, and you’re in dense, heavy traffic on the highway. It’s start-and-stop, conditions are hot and uncomfortable, and there’s nothing you can do to get off the highway right now. You’re trapped, and your baby is not happy about it.

Your child isn’t just crying, they’re wailing. The sound pierces your soul, but there’s nothing you can do: you’ve got to keep your eyes on the road, as the start-and-stop conditions include people dangerously switching lanes quickly with barely any signal. What do you do?

Preparing for the Journey

Before you load your baby into the car, make sure their car seat is appropriate for their age and weight. Car seats have detailed descriptions regarding how they should be arranged, whether they should face forward or back, which seat they should be set up in, and what age range and weight they’re suited for.

Likewise, if your child wears diapers still, make sure they’ve got one on that’s clean and dry before you leave the house. Make sure they’ve eaten recently, too: no one wants to be hungry in the back seat on a car ride. While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to keep some of their favorite toys with them in their car seat so they have something to keep them entertained. It’s possible your car has an entertainment system: if so, you can throw on a movie they love to keep their attention during the drive.

These steps are all ways to make it less likely that your child will become upset during the ride. However, if they do, here’s what you can do.

When You’ve Got a Crying Baby in the Car

The first step to addressing how to help your baby is to see if you can safely pull over and check on them. However, in some traffic conditions, this is impossible or dangerous. Ideally, you should have someone else with you who can keep an eye on the baby. Failing this, however, you’ll have to do your best to just focus on the road and get somewhere you can safely pull off and give them attention.

Oftentimes, their crying is simply for that: attention. In these situations, it’s best to wait until you get to your destination to check on them, as, otherwise, you’ll be derailed once every few minutes just so the baby can be held for a moment.