Traveling with your baby in a car can go two ways. Your baby might sleep the entire way, waking only to eat, and dozing quickly off again with a clean nappy and a full belly. The other scenario is that your baby screams the entire way, resulting in frayed nerves and you considering if the return trip home is truly necessary. A new location is good, right?
It is impossible to predict how your child will behave on a car ride. Parents should be prepared for all scenarios, so let’s take a look at the best tips for traveling by car with a baby.
Make Frequent Stops
Babies require frequent stops, so plan accordingly. You might be able to drive for four hours straight without stopping, but you should plan to stop every two hours with an infant. Young babies sitting in an upright position in their car seat can struggle to breathe properly, and it puts pressure on their growing spines.
Plan to make frequent stops where you feed your baby, change his nappy, and let him stretch out on a blanket. Yes, it will add time to your trip, but it is essential for your baby’s body and comfort.
Baby Should be Comfortable
You want to be comfortable on your car ride, and so does your baby. Picking the best convertible car seat is the first step. Make sure the seat isn’t too narrow for your baby, and that the seat provides enough padding for comfort.
If your car doesn’t have built-in sunshades, make sure you have several attached to the windows around your child’s car seat. Babies can become overheated and burnt from sitting near a sunny window.
If your baby is old enough to enjoy toys, bring a lot of toys. Consider buying a few new toys or removing favorites a few weeks before the car ride. A removed toy becomes a new toy all over again for infants!
Some toys can be dangerous in a car, becoming a projectile. Try to bring as many soft toys as possible. Your baby might like soft, crinkle books, stuffed animals, rubber blocks, and more.
A lot of babies enjoy the music! Play music for your baby, hopefully, something makes him happy. It might be kids music, but many babies like the music their parents listen to on typical car rides.
Leave During a Typical Sleep Time
To make the most of your trip, consider traveling by car when your baby typically sleeps. Leave at night when your baby is typically asleep. You can also leave at naptime. Doing so means you get some distance before you have to stop or before your baby gets unpleasant. A sleeping baby also means you have time to talk to your partner or read the next chapter in your book.
Be Prepared for Nappy Disasters
If you are traveling on a turnpike, you should have luck encountering great places to change your baby. Other routes don’t guarantee plenty of nice rest stops. Have a blanket or towel that you can lay out to change your baby. Keep plenty of nappies, wipes, and cream in your changing bag.
Also, make sure you have several outfits in the changing bag for your baby. Sitting in a car seat can cause nappy blowouts, and you don’t want to unpack the back of the vehicle to find new outfits.
Sit Near Your Baby
If you have extra space beside your baby, consider sitting next to your baby if you have someone else to drive. Babies love to play with their parents. Sitting near your baby allows you to read books, make the baby dolls dance, and do whatever else makes your baby happy!
Think about Food and Snacks
If your baby is exclusively breastfed, you don’t have too much to consider. However, parents might want to consider these things.
- A cooler for drinks for parents and baby, if the baby is old enough for water or juice.
- A bottle warmer to warm up a bottle.
- Snacks for infants who can have them, especially for stops.
- Baby food. Pouches might be easiest for car rides
- Several clean baby bottles and sippy cups
- Pumping parts
You might be tempted to breastfeed your baby while the car is in motion, but don’t do it! You can harm yourself and your baby in the event of an accident. Instead, consider pumping a bottle and giving it to your baby if you don’t want to stop at a rest area just yet.
Also, eating is best done when the car is stopped. Have all the snacks ready for those frequent pit stops!
Remember You Have to Go Home
Whatever preps you make to head to your destination also needs to be made to go home. Replenish snacks and prepare for the car ride home. If something worked well for your baby, try it again! Grab a new toy while you are at your destination as well.
About the Author
Hi! My name is Veronica Mitchell. I am a mother to two adorable little girls and a handsome little boy. I spend my days caring from my children, packing lunches, reading aloud, kissing boo-boos, and working as the Chief Editor for Myparentinjourney.com.