My ds is changed into foward facing as my car seat said from 8kgs onwards, but we did a 2 day trip with him rear ward facing and he dosed off after a while, but enjoyed the trip back home foward facing, plus i had 3 other kids to entertain him and we put the dvd player in the car but as i said we drove for more than 12 hrs straight.
If you do change to front facing, be sure to try it out before the trip. My friend's daughter got car sick for awhile after the change. She eventually got used to it, but it took awhile. Could you go at nap time?
My son likes his Fisher Price mirror/light/music thing. It goes on the headrest of the back seat so he can see himself and watch the lights and music. He has learned to look in his mirror and see me in my rearview mirror so he doesn't feel so alone back there. Also, I think my DD was 2 when we got a DVD player for her, but it was a lifesaver!
My DD had a terrible time in the car and my parents live 5 hours away and my hubby's parents live 6 hours away. I would do the trip by myself a lot to my parents to go stay since my DH works a lot and honestly, by the time I got there, I was usually ready to pull my hair out. I tried the DVD player, a huge basket of toys next to me to hand back to her, etc. She usually screamed at the top of her lungs the last 2-3 hours. You might just have to put up with a screaming child and just keep telling her that when you get there, she can get out. I don't think there's a magic trick for the car. Some kids love it, others hate it. My DS is almost 3.5 years old and he does great. Never cries, looks around, watches for big trucks, diggers, you know, all the boy things. These are all things my DD could have cared less about. As she gets older, you can bring more things and movies will hold their attention for longer. Good luck.
I don't have much advice as DD is the same. Almost 12 months and she has always hated the carseat. Now she will tolerate it for about 20 min. I drive to my parents about 3 hours away about once a month and like energytrain said by the time I get there I am ready to pull my hair out. I also have a 3 year old who is better than dd in the car but also gets bored. I wouldn't turn her seat around as I don't think it would help your situation and I have read that it is FIVE times safer for them ride rear facing. I kept my son rear facing until 18 months. I plan to do the same for dd. I think that even the AAP is starting to reccommend keeping kids rear facing longer. But as for the car ride suggestions. Last time I did leave late (7pm) and it was better as she slept some of the way, but then her routine was off, but she did go to sleep when we got there. I think the DVD would be ok for the car, much better than her screaming. Plan to take turns driving and entertaining her. Buy a couple new small toys. And stop maybe every 1.5 -2 hours. I stop to nurse dd and she stops crying and then I put her back in and the crying revs up again. Good luck. My sis is getting married this summer and we have to drive 6 hours to the wedding. I am just trying not to think about it, but I better start making plans. I don't know if dd would watch a DVD but it is worth a try, I may look into buying a portable player.
We drove 12 hours when my son was 13 months. Here in Canada you can put the child forward facing if they are over 22 pounds, I think. The regulations are on the car seat, at least here. We broke the drive into two days and left at bedtime thinking he would sleep and he didn't until we got to the hotel, after five hours. The next day we left right after breakfast and stopped every few hours to let him move around, snack, change his bum, etc..
As for entertainment, we just played kid's music and once a day we'd get into the back with him and read, etc.. We encouraged him to look out the window too. We're lucky though, he likes the car. Snacks, like cheerios /nutrios, goldfish, etc., are a good option too - they take a while to get eaten. They can make a mess, but passl the time.
OMG...I can feel your pain! We drove to NY (from SC) when my son was 5 months old and it wasn't fun. Now we're planning our second trip up there (with him) in August. It's unfortunate that you can't drive at night, as this is really the ONLY thing that helped us get as far we did without going crazy. Of course, this is an 18 hour drive as apposed to your 5 hours, but when a baby doesn't like being the carseat for more than 20 minutes (which is the case with my ds now, too) it doesn't matter if it's a 30 minute drive...there will still be 10 minutes of screaming/crying/whining/bucking in the seat that will drive you mad! :-)
We drive at night, then stop in the morning to stay at a hotel halfway there so dh can sleep. I take Levi shopping and sightseeing while he does that.
This trip, we plan on using the DVD player and lots of Yo Gabba Gabba, Dora the Explorer, Blues Clues and Baby Einstein dvd's. I'm sorry, but even though people frown on children watching a lot of tv, I'd rather keep my sanity AND keep the car a safer place by keeping him quiet. The last thing we need is a screaming baby to distract us while driving on the interstate. Technically, he'll be sleeping while we do MOST of our driving (two nights worth) so he'll probably watch it less that what I'm predicting. But either way, I don't care.
Also, I'm pregnant, so I'm sure we'll be making a lot of pee stops. If need be, we'll take him out each time and let him get some air and stretch out a bit.
Other than these ideas, I'm at a loss. I'd love to say that we'll load up with his favorite toys, but most of them would end up being projectiles if (God forbid) we were to be in an accident.
One thing you may want to invest in (although it's a bit pricey) is a Tiny Love MagiQ Plush Doll that comes with a DVD and CD. The animal is soft and cuddly, and interacts with the dvd AND cd. There is a lamb (which is for younger infants (3-6 months I think), a dog (can't remember what age range this is) and a cow (12-36 months). We have the cow, and Levi LOVES it. Even if he doesn't always have the cow handy, he still likes watching the dvd and actually recognizes the songs on the cd FROM the dvd.
Anyway, just a suggestion...something that might be nice for a road trip. :-)
Here's the link about the dolls...but you may want to see if you can get one cheaper off of E-bay:
to anyone who has tried a portable dvd player... any recommendations on brand?
Sorry-I don't remember the name of ours, but I know we got one of the cheaper ones. Four years later she still uses it in the car!