Can You Feed A Baby In A Car Seat? Life-Saving Tips

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Written by: Fatima O. Millers, CPST

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Yes and No! Feeding a baby in the car seat is not as simple as it may sound. There are many things that you need to take into account if you are planning on feeding your baby in her car seat.

While it’s not safe or recommended to feed your baby in a car seat, you can’t control when your baby gets hungry.

Whether you’re caught in traffic or running errands, sometimes you have to feed your baby in the car seat.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to feed your baby in the car seat, here is what you need to know.

Can you feed your baby in a car seat?

The short answer is that you can, but you shouldn’t. For many caring parents out there, this is a difficult rule to follow.

I know it’s not always convenient to stop the car, especially if you are on a long road trip. Sometimes, you may not have a choice.

If your baby is hungry and you are unable to stop, then you will have to feed them in the car.

In this case, it is important to follow these safety measures to the letter to make sure that both you and your little one are safe.

6 Reasons why you should not feed your baby in a car seat

Before you keep reading, I want you to be aware of the serious dangers of feeding your precious baby in the car seat. Yes, there are serious dangers!

  1. In the event of a car accident, an unrestrained bottle can become a dangerous projectile, injuring your baby or anyone else in the vehicle. Read this sad story from Cafemom to see what can happen.
  1. A baby could choke on her bottle or food if she is not sitting upright. In a car seat, a baby is in a lying down position, making it difficult to eat or drink without choking.
  1. Unintended bottle feeding in a car seat can cause tummy aches, gas, and even spit-up or vomiting.
  1. Your baby cannot burp while lying down in a car seat, which can cause a lot of discomfort. A baby can get very fussy in a car seat, making the drive much more difficult and unsafe.
  1. Knowing that your baby is feeding in a car seat takes your attention away from driving. Especially if the car seat is in a rear-facing position.
  1. This should be the least of your worries but feeding your baby in her car seat can be very messy! and cleaning up a car seat is not an easy task.

Bottle feeding in the car seat best practices

Bottle-feed your baby in the car seat only if she is able to hold the bottle unassisted. If your baby is not able to do this, then you should have someone in the back seat feed her the bottle.

Never prop the bottle while your baby is unintended in the car seat. Your baby can choke if she is not ready for the extra liquid flowing or if the bottle is not removed,

For safe bottle-feeding in the car seat, make sure that the seat is reclined at 45 degrees. For extra safety measures, use a soft and non-edged feeding bottle.

When your baby is done with the feeding, it is burping time. And here when it’s absolutely necessary to stop the car.

Burping your baby should never be done while driving as you need to take her out of the car seat to do that.

Feeding solid food in the car seat

When your baby is eating solid food, there is an increased risk of choking. You have to be even more careful when feeding your baby in the car seat.

The best way to keep your child safe when feeding her solid food in the car seat is to carefully choose the type of food. We will come to that in a minute.

Another important safety measure is to make sure that she is setting upright. A car seat is not the best place for a baby to eat solid food as she will be in a lying-down position.

If you have no other choice, then you should recline the car seat at a 45-degree angle.

If your car seat is not adjustable, then you should stop the car to feed her.

Don’t forget to properly buckle your baby in her car seat after the feeding is done!

Breastfeeding in a car seat

While we all agree that breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby, it’s just not possible to breastfeed the baby in a car seat.

If you are on the road and want to breastfeed your baby, then you should stop the car in a safe place. This time, there is no way around it.

And even if you are not driving, it will be very difficult to breastfeed your baby in a car seat. A car seat is not designed for breastfeeding.

The best way to feed your breastfed baby is by holding her in your arms which is obviously a huge safety issue when the car is in motion.

Dangerous things to feed your child in a car seat

One of the important things to consider when feeding your baby in a car seat is the type of food.

For a safe ride, avoid giving your baby these types of food when she is in the car seat

  • Uncut grapes, berries, cherries, cherry tomatoes, or melon balls
  • Pieces of hard raw vegetables or fruit, such as raw carrots or apples
  • Whole pieces of canned fruit
  • Uncooked dried vegetables or fruit, such as raisins
  • Whole or chopped nuts and seeds
  • spoonfuls of nut and seed butter, such as peanut butter
  • Large chunks of meat, hot dogs, meat sticks, or sausages
  • Large chunks of cheese, especially string cheese
  • Candy that’s hard, sticky, or gooey like jelly beans, caramels, gumdrops, marshmallows, or gummy candies.
  • Hard snacks like potato or corn chips, pretzels, popcorn, cookies, and granola bars

Safe things to feed your child in a car seat

Once you drop all the dangerous and unsafe foods, what’s left to feed your toddler in the car seat?

Here is a list of safe foods that you can give to your child while on the go in a car seat.

  • Yogurt, fresh or frozen
  • Any soft, easy-to-chew, and mashed-up food.
  • Small bites of well-cooked veggies, fruits, or meat.
  • Peeled and grated hard vegetables and fruit like carrots, parsnips, apples, and zucchini.
  • Quarterly sliced grapes, cherries, and cherry tomatoes.
  • Bananas. Leave half the peel on to help baby’s grip
  • Safe-contained foods to prevent spelling over the baby and car seat.

Safety practices when feeding a baby in a car seat

Feeding your baby in the car can be dangerous if not done correctly.

Be sure to follow the proper safety procedures to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

  • Never breastfeed your baby while the car is on the move
  • When bottle feeding, don’t forget to burp your baby after every 2-3 oz of formula or milk.
  • Always keep your baby in an upright position when feeding.
  • A car seat mirror can be distracting for you. Have someone else in the car to keep an eye on youngsters when feeding.
  • If bottle feeding, attend to the bottle; don’t try and prop it up.
  • Don’t feed babies solid items of food that could be choking hazards, like whole grapes, in the car.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that are too hot
  • Try to protect the car seat as much as possible from getting messy. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions carefully.
  • Use a feeding bib to protect clothes, and a plastic mat or tray to protect the car seat.

The Bottom line

if you happen to be on the road and need to feed your baby, it’s best to stop the car in a safe place.

You can’t avoid it? Then follow the proper safety procedures to keep your baby safe at all times.

Choosing the right car seat is also another way to keep your baby safe while on the road. If you have any questions about which car seat is best for your child, check out our car seat guides.

Please note: The content provided on Car Seat Parent, including all materials and information, is not intended to serve as medical or health advice. Always consult with ahealthcare professional regarding your specific circumstances, especially when it concerns the safety and well-being of your child in relation to car seat use.

About Fatima O. Millers, CPST

Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Fatima delivers insightful car seat reviews and recommendations. Combining her CPST expertise with an engineering background, her advice is both safe and practical.

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