In-the-car-with-crying-baby-desperation rattle hack

From Scott:

First time dad here, so I’m not sure if this hack is known by all veteran parents.  My wife and I were in the car with our 3 month-old son.  He wanted out of the car seat and begin telling us quite vocally all about it.  We had forgotten to bring a rattle with us in the car.  So we improvised on the spot: 1 empty Dunkin’ Donuts paper bag and 5-6 nickels.  Shake the bag and you have your rattle!  Little Zachary loved it – even more than the $20 musical, light-up thingy that attaches to the back of the seat (of course).

Perfect example of why parents are such good hackers. We're constantly thinking on our feet.


  1. Amy says

    When my 13 month old starts screaming in the car, I play with the automatic windows in the back seat. Up, down, up, up, up, down, down, up, down… In time with the music, or whatever. I’ll alternate sides of the car, too. It grabs her attention long enough to break the crying momentum, and I can usually get home with a minimum of fussing. ‘Course, we live in a small town, and this won’t work once the weather gets cold!

  2. Laura says

    That totally reminds me of the time I was stuck in the backseat between the twins, with only an empty Doritos bag to entertain them. I tell you, Doritos bags can really make music when you are desperate.

  3. ringsabre says

    Um– did I read that right? Giving the baby a bag full of choking hazards, and in a situation where it would be very difficult to react to a child’s choking (a choking baby would have to wait for the car to stop, a parent to unstrap and get to the back seat, and then finally getting the baby unstrapped, before any help can be proffered — and all this with fingers fumbling in panic).

    No, offense, but this is one hack best left on the roadside. Instead, why not try the obvious: pulling over the car and giving Little Guy a break? That’s what he’s asking for, after all. If YOU wanted to stop for a break, you’d just do it. Why not extend the same courtesy to your cherished one.

  4. Parent Hacks Editor says

    ringsabre: I took this hack to mean the PARENT shakes the “rattle” to entertain the baby.