Although Gavin was one tough customer to please when he is in a car seat, we are finally past the stage of the “difficult” car rides. I guess time really dulls the memory because it would seem I have forgotten what it is like to have a baby in the car seat. Going through it the second time, I am inclined to think that Gareth is generally more accepting of being in the car seat. Either that or being used to having to share attention with an older brother is making all the difference.
There is another benefit of having two in the car as well. Sometimes just having Gavin in the back seat is enough to keep Gareth happy for the entire journey. It is quite clear that Gareth enjoys his brother’s company as much as Gavin enjoys playing with Gareth. Only Gavin can make Gareth laugh so heartily and so consistently. I had a photo of the both of them sleeping soundly in the backseat except that it was on my mobile phone which is now in the workshop so I’m guessing that picture is gone.
Gareth may be an easier customer to please in the car seat but we still have our rough days. Whilst I needn’t be quite as regimental as I was when it came to taking Gavin out, I still need to observe a few rules if I want to keep Gareth happy.
- Make sure he isn’t too tired (although if I time it right, he can fall asleep in the car seat, however, if I time it wrong, it can also backfire on me and I could end up with a screaming baby all the way home). The safer bet is to let him fall asleep before putting him into the car seat.
- Make sure he isn’t too hungry.
- Make sure there are activities on hand to keep him occupied.
- Have someone sit in the back with him (usually Gavin, although I have been trying to get used to the idea of taking the maid out with us when I’m alone with the two boys).
It has been a while since I was hunting around for a car seat toy. Like all other baby products, I have discovered there are now a whole new range of toys designed to keep baby happy during the car ride. The one I bought for Gareth was the Lamaze Spin, Rattle & Go Toy Bar which seems to be pretty effective in keeping him happy. My only gripe is that the straps are too short.
And the Island Stroller Set:
I really like Tiny Love toys. I first discovered them when I was down in Melbourne with Gavin. They have a practical and affordable range of toys that aren’t ridiculously pricey. It’s such a pity they don’t market the brand locally.
Aside from Tiny Love, I’ve also noticed a few other toys which could be handy to have in the car seat, such as the Manhattan Toy Whoozit Activity Spiral. This is a slightly more funky toy than one we bought previously for Gavin to keep him entertained in the stroller. Personally, I think it has limited attention span value compared to the Tiny Love toys.
Likewise, I think the Zoo Mobile Car Seat Toy is also equally limited.
If you want to get a car seat toy, you really need something that will hold your baby’s attention for as long as possible. Toys which provide your baby with something to manipulate will hold his attention for longer. Young babies may be entertained purely by having something to look at but once your baby starts getting active, just looking doesn’t cut it any more. They’ll want to pull, shake, suck, swipe, etc. The more things they can do to the toy, the better.
The Baby Einstein’s Neptune Carrier Toy Bar looks promising:
The Sassy Busy Bugs Bar also looks like it has potential:
Another toy which served me well during Gavin’s time was the Light and Sound Buggy Driver from ELC, except that it is now marketed by The Little Toy Company. I haven’t been able to use it with Gareth because he still wears the booster in his Recaro car seat which prevents me from attaching the toy. The other problem with digging out old toys is that Gavin seems to enjoy taking a ride down memory lane and usually usurps the toy.
I have also found it quite useful to invest in a few pacifier clips. One of the problems with a lot of toys is that your baby will often throw it or drop it. The pacifier clip will help to keep the toy within reach and therefore within entertainment range. Something like the Motley Pacifier Chain can serve a dual purpose of providing further entertainment value because of its interesting design (just make sure the chain is baby-proof as small beads can be a choking hazard).
Also make sure that the attachment is practical. It needs to be able to attach to a toy ring without coming off too easily. Otherwise you’ll need to modify the end to make it more practical – for instance, tying it to a toy link. You can use the pacifier clip to attach any of the play and grow Lamaze toys to your baby, like Freddie the Firefly:
I’ve always found these Lamaze toys to have pretty good entertainment value when it comes to keeping baby busy. They’re not only great for the car ride, but they are also useful for keeping baby busy in a restaurant. The pacifier clip keeps the toy from being dropped so you don’t spend half your meal picking it back up. Alternatively, you use the pacifier clip to hook a teething ring.