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I'm just about at my wits end right now. DS is almost 23 months and has recently started throwing an absolute FIT over getting into his carseat! There's no real rhyme or reason to it. Ususally it's after he's been allowed to play in the front of someones car, NOT something I'm comfortable with, but it happened I dealt w/ the people allowing it and it's been stopped. It used to be he'd flip out, I'd be able to tickle him or distract in someway w/ special toys or SOMETHING, he'd sit down and we'd buckle and go.<br><br>
Then that stopped working, so he'd flip, I'd remove him hold him, walk around the car and get him calmed down, explain we had to go and try again... sometimes it took 3 -4 times of removing him before he'd actually let me put him in the seat.<br><br>
NOW when he decides he's done he is DONE! Last night we went out to dinner, when we left the restaurant and got inthe van he went NUTS! immediately started screaming like we were beating him! (I seriously expected the police to show up!) All DH had done was put him on the car seat!!!! He stiffened completely until DH let him go and he climbed out of his seat and REFUSED to get into it. Everytime either of us would put him in the seat he immediately started sobbing, screaming, tears pouring down his face. It was absolutely GUTWRENCHING! It took us an HOUR to get him to let us buckle him in and head for home with him sobbing the whole way! I sat next to him holding his hand and talking to him, but it was AWFUL! Before we left for dinner he had just had a nice 3 hour nap, played for about 45 minutes and then we left. We don't confine him in the high chair at restaurants, because we've found all that confinement makes the car ride worse, so he only sat in the high chair while eating, and other than that sat in the booth next to either dh or I happily coloring, playing w/ his cars, and eating his grapes!<br><br>
Today we leave for a trip 3 hours away from home! It's a school trip DH sponsors so we have no choice but to go, have already discussed not going anywhere too far to walk back to the hotel if need be, but I'm scared to death that this is going to happen again. If ANYONE has been there done that and has a suggestion I welcome it! We do know that he's started to get motion sick in the car for more than 45 minutes. Our ped has told us to give him benadryl 20 minutes before leaving I hate the idea of that but if it's going to help him feel better I'll do it! I'm worried that he's actually feeling sick all the time in the car and just doesn't have the words to tell me!
 

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I know a lot of people who use Benadryl for carsickness and apparently it works pretty well.<br><br>
Other than that, and I said this in another thread recently and I don't think it's something people really like, I would just put him in and go and stop trying to coax him or get him to agree. I think that just prolongs the misery. I'd get every possible thing ready with the driver in the driver's seat and the car cranked, get him in as quickly and calmly (on your part, don't act upset, etc) as possible, and go.<br><br>
We have had to do this with our daughter (not carseat, but something else) and eventually I felt like all the negotiating and coaxing kind of led her to believe she might get out of it, so she just fought that much harder and in the end, it was a lot more crying than necessary and a lot more than if we just went ahead and did what we had to do and got it over with. It sucks because clearly, it's real upset and not faking or "throwing a fit" to get out of something, but getting it over with faster seemed to help a lot.<br><br>
Is he upset the whole time in the carseat?
 

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Yeah, DS1 went through this for a little while. I just pushed him in the seat, buckled and went... yes, maybe thats 'mean' somehow, but its fast and it works. Coaxing and delaying and wasting hours does no good, IMO.<br><br>
DS1 hated the car from the day he was born till we flipped him forward facing ~15+ months (I did turn him back around last summer ~28 months, and he's been happy that way too, mostly).
 

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If you think it's motion sickness maybe try sea bands? They have them at Target or the drug store.<br>
If you think this is more about transitioning into the car or even a power strugle of sorts you could try just calmly explaining you can't drive until he gets in then sit there with little to know response. It takes the excitement out of the battle really fast. It only took about three times of this with my dd.<br>
Good luck.
 

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Oh the stiff "ironing-board" move. DD went through a phase at that age. We did not, however, have any indication of carsickness, so after a few times, we just had to start firmly positioing her into the seat as quickly as possible - she usually calmed down quickly once in, and the quicker we did did it, the better. Honestly, it did not feel very GD but we did what we had to do or we would have had a one hour ordeal - while she did not freak everytime we went to the car it happened often enough and there was no amount of coaxing, pleading, or distractions that seemed to work. We did it as gently as possible but did what we had to do to get on with our day. Thankfully, she eventually grew out of the phase (maybe after 4 months)...
 

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Ds went through this for a short time (around the same age). Nothing worked, so i would just have to put him into position and strap him in, and get in the front and go. I would just tell him as I was putting him in 'I know you don't want to sit in your seat, but you need to be safe, so you dont have a choice'<br><br>
Sitting in the back with him made it worse. Trying to calm him down to get him in the seat willingly made it worse. He 'got over it' much much faster if I just put him in the seat and aside from telling him that he needed to sit there to be safe, I wouldnt say anything. As soon as he'd quit crying I'd start talking to him as if nothing happened, and he was happy and fine.<br><br>
He quit freaking out after just a few times of doing it that way. I just made it clear that it wasnt an option.<br><br>
It sounds to me like you trying to calm him down, walkign around the car etc just makes things worse b/c he knows if he freaks out more, then you will give him attention and try to calm him more, instead of just saying 'well you you can yell all you want but you have to be strapped in to ride in the car'<br><br><br>
BTW turning kids forward facing will NOT help, at some point most kids go through a 'I dont want to be restrained' phase, and it wouldnt matter which direction they were in!
 

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Portable DVD player and the Muppet Show. There have been times when that's the only thing that has calmed down my kids in the car. I don't usually like to use tv as a parenting tool, but carseats can be so torturous for little kids that I think it's worth giving them any reasonable comfort item while they're strapped in.<br><br>
I also agree about just strapping in and going, not prolonging the misery. It's non-negotiable, so you might as well get it over with so you can get your son home where he can be comfortable.
 

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Ds just turned 2 and is in the "I DO IT" phase and throws awesome car seat fits. I have done a non MDC sanctioned trick that works when i remember to employ it. I have let him start watching a show called "special agent OSO"<br><br>
here is a clip <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_3cyQ2IMYU" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_3cyQ2IMYU</a><br><br>
In this show the bear has to do certain missions (like helping to wash dishes etc). He uses the same format every time "step one! pour water, step 2 scrub the dishes, step 3 rinse the dishes" etc. So for the car i say "ready special agent DS? step one - get in the carseat! step 2 - buckle the chest clip step 3 - buckle the bottom buckles!"<br><br>
Sometimes we then do another 3 steps with a blanket, water bottle, and kisses etc.<br><br>
He really gets into it and when i remember to do it the car seat battles dont happen.<br><br>
Oh, and for a long car trip i will use special snacks, new toys, and a portable dvd player - i am not about hearing screaming for hours.
 

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In that case you just push them (gently as you can) into the seat and buckle. Within a few weeks they figure out that fighting and crying isn't working and they stop. I'm all for gentle parenting, but car seats are safety items and safety is not negotiable. And the more you let them cry and beg and try to coax them into the seat then they start to think what they are doing is working and there is no reason for them to stop.
 

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I agree with the others who said this is non-negotiable and dragging it out is probably making it a lot worse. I'd go with "it's time to get buckled so we can go do whatever you're doing" and plop him in the seat and buckle. He should get used to that and then you can offer him more choices, do you want to climb in yourself or do you want me to put you in? do you want toy x or toy y after you're buckled?<br><br>
If he's still upset once you're moving I'd empathize and talk about the fun things you're going to do when you get where you're going and how everyone needs to be buckled in to be safe in the car but I would make the getting in and getting buckled as straight forward and quick as possible.
 

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Another vote for just buckle him in and have it over with. I think that by trying to get consent first, you communicate to them that this is something optional, something they have a say in, something they can refuse. And they can't. Not really, unless you want to stop riding in the car altogether, which isn't practical for most of us. By dragging it out, I think you set yourself up for many repeat incidents. My approach has always been to just do it-- buckle them in, holding them down if necessary, and just have it over with. Firm, gentle force won't hurt the child if you are careful. Handle the protests calmly-- "I know you don't like it, bubby, but we have to. I'll get you out when we get home." If you're confident and calm, and consistent, I think you'll likely see the protesting subside fairly quickly as he figures out that this is not something you're going to back down on.<br><br>
Having distractions prepared-- things he can look forward to when you arrive, a bag of surprise toys or books to pull out, little light snacks for the ride-- can help sometimes. They won't pull kids out of a full-out protest, but they can sometimes help prevent the protests.<br><br>
The benadryl does help with motion sickness. My DS is subject to motion sickness, even on very short rides, and he does protest the car terribly. Once they're old enough to be relied on to chew, candied ginger helps a lot. So does keeping the windows rolled down, so they have the wind in their face. Ginger tea in a spillproof cup can offer some relief, as can ginger capsules opened into something like yogurt or applesauce. It's hard to find acupressure bands that fit a toddler appropriately, but if you can find them, those have been reported to be effective for some people. I wouldn't hesitate to resort to Benadryl on longer rides, though-- I use it sometimes with DS. It does make some kids terribly dopey and sleepy, and other kids get hyper, so be prepared.
 

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Ditto to the non-negotiable issue.<br>
DS1 went through a longer stage of this, maybe a month or so? And it was only occasionally. There were no indications of discomfort or motion sickness, it was just something he was resisting at the time. And he was already FF'ing (I know better now!!).<br>
The trick was to get the crotch buckle done up quickly before he even had a chance to think about it and stiffen up.<br>
DS2 is not nearly as strong-willed and actually it's been a lot of the opposite - his big brother is all into doing his own buckles so now DS2 wants to do his own buckles up <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> it takes FOREVER...
 

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When my DD went through this, we just wouldn't go until she got in her seat. I took a 'this is really boring that we can't go anywhere' attitude and then I 'd sit and read. If we were trying to leave home, we'd just go back in the house and not go.<br><br>
We did discover that my DHs ipod was a magic amusement for car rides.
 

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Wish there was a better answer for this, but another vote for (as gently as possible) pushing him in the carseat and strapping him in. I know of a few friends who just allow their kids to be without carseats to avoid the struggle, but this isn't something that I could accept.<br><br>
Both of my kids went through this stage, and i tried to just sit in the car until the kiddo was ready to sit down and buckle. Never worked, and I can be a pretty patient person. Though, it may be worth the effort for you. Pick a few outings where you can sit in the car for upwards of an hour, bring a book for yourself, and make sure that there's nothing entertaining in the car for him. Make it known that you guys will leave when he's sitting down and ready to be buckled. It backfired for me- DS had the expectation that every time we came to the car, he would be allowed to play in the backseat for as long as he wanted to.<br><br>
We had the same issue with DD (#2), but less so. First, I just simply squished her in the seat and buckled, no nonsense, no attempts to wait. But the other thing that really helped, IIRC, is that her older brother was already used to the routine and thus she had a lead to follow.<br><br>
Another thought is that maybe he really wants to check out the interior of the car. You mentioned that it's worse after he was allowed to play in the front seat of someone's car, so this might backfire or it might help (maybe he's just really curious). Maybe if you allow him to play in your car (roll down the windows and bring a book while he roams the car) A LOT, and many times, he'll get bored of it and being out of his carseat will lose the appeal.
 

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The new trick I just learned about on Friday, call dh, ask him to talk with Lina, hand her the phone. She still complained when the phone call was over after about 3 minutes and I took the phone away, but then she was already in her seat and could get the car moving. As usual, after less than 0.2 miles of driving (~15 seconds?) she was sitting back there babbling away happily.<br><br>
So yeah, now when we need to go pick him up from work, instead of just telling her that, I'll let her call him to tell him we'll be leaving soon. Or he can go to buckle her up and I'll call them to tell her we need to head home from the store.<br><br>
I bet it will also work for her to call my parents even if she just gets voicemail.
 

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Both of my girls have gone through a stage of this (and DD2 still does it occasionally). What worked for us was having special car-only toys, so they are preoccupied with playing with those. Another tip I read online was to draw a "puppy paw" (or a heart, or a start, etc) on the child's hand with a marker as a reward once they are buckled.
 

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I feel your pain. My 23 month old twins are in this stage right now and it's awful. I agree with (only because that's what we've been doing <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent">) that it's best to just get them in their seat as best you can. I talk calmly and empathize with them but make it quick as I can. It's no picnic putting a screaming toddler in their carseat, forcing them to sit and trying to strap them in. Especially in public. I usually have one twin crawling around the van while I'm strapping the other one so I'm sure that doesn't help matters but it's not for very long. Hopefully the stage passes soon. My older two don't do it anymore <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>SaoirseC</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15412632"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Another thought is that maybe he really wants to check out the interior of the car. You mentioned that it's worse after he was allowed to play in the front seat of someone's car, so this might backfire or it might help (maybe he's just really curious). Maybe if you allow him to play in your car (roll down the windows and bring a book while he roams the car) A LOT, and many times, he'll get bored of it and being out of his carseat will lose the appeal.</div>
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This has really helped us. DD never wanted to get into her car seat either and made herself very stiff but after allowing her to play in our vehicles a lot she has become calmer. If we go somewhere as a family and I just have to go in somewhere for a quick errand DH will stay in the car with her and get her out of her seat and let her pretend to drive or let her lock and unlock the doors a million times and let her put the windows up and down until I come back. Of course, we only do this when we are not strapped for time so as to not stress everyone out if it doesn't work.<br><br>
I might get flamed for this one but DH's family has a large piece of property in the country that we go to to have outdoor fun and he has started letting DD have a special ride time just on the property with her sitting in the passenger seat. He only drives in a field so he isn't going more than 5MPH but DD absolutely loves it and it has made the whole car seat dilemma much better because she knows she doesn't always have to be confined when she is in the car, sometimes she gets to have some freedom too!
 
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