The days of bouncing around like popcorn in the "way back" of your parents' station wagon are long gone! Car seats with a five-point harness are necessary to keep our young children safe. Unfortunately, some very young people have a huge problem with this whole safety thing. They take issue with being strapped down to anything and act on it -- physically. Their limbs flail and their screams are loud -- often in direct proximity to your eardrum. Some toddlers, simply, will not be contained. So how do you contain them?
First, I highly recommend getting into shape. Children are freakishly strong. Even the littlest ones. They're also strategic, as anyone who's taken a kick to the groin while trying to stuff a reluctant child into a car seat will attest.
I worked on my biceps and triceps. I needed the strength to strong arm a forty-pound child, lovingly of course, into the car seat.
I stuck to my cardio routine. You need to snap that car seat latch shut at record speed, and being faster than your toddler is critical to success.
I didn’t skimp on yoga, either. I found it much easier to summon the patience I needed to weather my little one’s protests if I’d already worked off any stress.
Toys are key for a stress-free ride. Children this young don't get the concept of pleasing their parents just because it makes them feel good. Here's where transitional objects come in handy. With my car seat hater, I'd always offer to bring their favorite lovey along for the ride.
To a toddler, spin is EVERYTHING. I made sure to work my best PR skills and talk up the fact that the car ride was a means to an end -- the wonderful, exciting destination (even if it was just the grocery store). If we can just go in the car, we can get to the park! Or the store! And these cool things are there! Isn't that something? I focused on the cool things he, and his lovey, were about to do, instead of the seat itself.
Put all these strategies in place and you will suffer fewer bruises -- and broken eardrums. Good luck!
Viv Schaffel is a freelance journalist and essayist who writes for a vast array of publications, including CBS Watch!, The New York Times, Working Mother and The New York Post. She writes/performs sketch comedy and is an upstanding member of US Weekly’s Fashion Police, poking fun at red carpet risks.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.