What should I do when my baby falls asleep in the car?

Q: My 10-month-old baby falls asleep in the car, but won't stay asleep when I bring him in the house or during his regular naptime. What can I do?

A: Babies this age are very curious, so if he's falling asleep on short car rides, it's likely that he's not getting enough sleep around the clock. Observe your child over a 24-hour cycle, and see if you're missing cues that he's sleepy: Is he rubbing his eyes, acting clingy or anxious, or whining? If you're reasonably sure that your baby's getting enough sleep overall, it's possible that you're just planning your outings too close to his naptime, so you may want to readjust your errand schedule. A 20-minute catnap in the car can spoil the two-hour rest you looked forward to all morning. Since that's not always possible, another option is to let your baby finish out his nap in the car seat. Try grabbing a book and read in the car while your baby finishes his nap, or transfer him right in his car seat and park him next to you on the floor in your house until he wakes up. --Meagan Francis

Originally published in American Baby magazine, September 2007. Updated 2009

1 Comment

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