Is it possible to get a great nap in a car?
August 2, 2009 6:51 PM   Subscribe

How on earth can one sleep comfortably in the front passenger seat of a car? Added bonus: baby car seat is behind the seat in question, so the seat is pushed fairly far forward.

What tips do you have for making things more comfortable? My wife has been napping on the frequent car trips we've been taking lately, and since she takes the majority of the night wake-up calls for breastfeeding, it's a great time for her to snag an hour or two of shut-eye while I drive us to and fro. The main problem is that she wakes up with a really sore neck due to the unaccommodating conditions.

Any advice? How do you sleep in a tight spot? Neck-brace, or pillow suggestions? Can this be more cozy somehow? Thanks!
posted by swrittenb to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: One of those u-shaped travel neck pillows, either the inflatable kind or the memory-foam kind or the buckwheat-hull kind (wow, there are a lot of kinds of u-shaped travel neck pillow), might be worth a try. It makes a world of difference for me on planes and trains, anyway.
posted by box at 6:54 PM on August 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

I usually hug a big pillow under my chin.
posted by debbie_ann at 7:53 PM on August 2, 2009

How come you can't move the baby car seat to the other side of the backseat, so she can recline? (I'm sure this is a stupid question on my part. lol)
posted by at 8:01 PM on August 2, 2009

I hear your pain - with a tall person driving (not me) it made the most sense to keep the reversed seat behind me, rather than in the middle (crunching tall driver) or behind the driver.

You may have the solution in your own home - the large U-shaped pillow that is often used as a nursing aid, trade name Boppy. Stick it under the left arm, then tuck it up under her right side of her head.

For me the "Boppy" was okay, but I'm a bit larger than your average "mother" model you see in catalogs and actually made my own pillow in a larger size that we still use to this day for sleeping passengers of all sizes in the car.
posted by tilde at 8:05 PM on August 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

In the passenger seat, tuck the right leg up under the left knee, and roll about 45 degrees to the right. Use a pillow or two folded towels (multi-purpose!). Make sure shoes are *off*. Depending on her shape, you may need to place a jacket or small towel in the small of her back, and if the seats are high but not very deep (front-to-back), you may have to place something on the car floor under her right foot to keep it under the left knee.

(when I drive straight from St. Louis to the Grand Canyon or whereever, I take 10-15 minute naps like this, only reversed for the driver seat. This position works especially well for Hondas, although my Chevy pickup truck allows this position to work passably if you scoot the seat forward.)
posted by notsnot at 8:13 PM on August 2, 2009

I find the only way to do this is to put a pillow against the door and curl toward it, although there's only so much mobility when you are wearing a seat belt properly. If she reclines the seat (with baby car seat on opposite side, of course) and you have an accident, she could be killed, maimed or terribly injured -- Slate did an article about the dangers of reclining your car seat.
Just look at what happens when you don't have the head rest adjusted properly -- the entire seat is an even bigger issue. Heck, I was awake in a minor accident with everything adjusted properly and I'm still suffering three years later.
posted by acoutu at 9:07 PM on August 2, 2009

This isn't for everyone, but I put my feet on the dash, my arms across my knee's and lay my forehead on my arms.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 9:46 PM on August 2, 2009

Is it possible to move the carseat to the middle position? In one of my cars that allows the passenger seat to be fully pushed back as the "middle" position for the carseat is actually slightly offset. The middle position is also recommended for carseats anyway as it is safer in accidents.

I do second acautu's comments on reclining the seat: be very careful.
posted by cftarnas at 10:38 PM on August 2, 2009

I'd recommend a combination of the U-shaped neck pillow (buckwheat hull is more comfy than inflatable), AND a full-sized feather pillow, which can be folded, punched, or squished into whatever shape it needs to be for maximum comfort.

With these two pillows, I can sack out for hours in the front passenger seat, even when I can't recline.
posted by somanyamys at 6:52 AM on August 3, 2009

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