Monday, July 12, 2010

Car Travel with Baby!

My family is embarking on a six hour car ride this weekend to spend time with friends from college. I have no worries about my three-and-a-half year old (she will be happy to watch movies, eat snacks, and play games), but the thought of crossing the state line with my 10 month-old breaks me out in a cold sweat. Needless to say, he is not the best car traveler in the world.

I have been doing my research on how to conquer car travel with a baby, and here are 10 tips I came across that I thought might help make our trip more successful. Here’s hoping it all goes well! If you have any additional car travel tips, leave them in the comments section!

1. First things first…plan to travel at your baby’s best time. This may mean you leave at nap time or bed time, so choose your departure time accordingly. (This is only if your baby sleeps well in the car. Your baby may be like mine and only take cat caps in the car, so there is no “best time” to travel!)

2. Plan a few breaks in travel so your baby is not strapped in his or her car seat for long periods of time. The longer your baby is in the car seat, the fussier he or she may become. Remember, it is not a race when traveling with a baby. Take your time and you will all be happier for it.

3. Pack plenty of toys for the trip. New ones or forgotten favorites will likely keep your little one occupied for longer periods of time over toys he plays with every day.

4. Also pack baby-friendly music, plenty of snacks and drinks, and books to read to your baby on the road.

5. Have a well-stocked diaper bag with everything you need for diaper changes. Don’t forget a change of clothes in case it’s a major diaper blow out! Make this bag easily accessible so you don’t have to dig it out under suitcases.

6. Never take a baby out of the car seat when the car is in motion. Always pull the car over if you need to change a diaper or if the baby gets extremely fussy.

7. Tape brightly colored pictures to the back of the seat your baby will be facing. This gives them something cheerful to look at and may keep their attention longer. If you have a car mirror, you can put that on the back of the seat, too.

8. Put up window shade screens in your car to protect your baby from the sun. Sun shades will also prevent your baby from getting too hot.

9. Keep a lookout on your GPS for baby-friendly places to stop. Your little one might like to go for a swing or walk around a playground, so don’t be afraid to stop at a playground and wear your little one out! This might also help your baby take a good nap in the car for the second leg of the trip.

10. Finally, don’t have your travel plans set in stone. If your goal is to make it to a certain city without stopping, but your baby is very fussy, make an unscheduled stop. If you sense your baby needs a change of scenery, instead of eating in the car as you planned, stop at a restaurant and let the baby see something besides in the inside of your car. The more flexible you are, the happier everyone will be while traveling!

Good luck with your summer travels!


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chairs for kids said...

This is a great post.. travel can be difficult especially with little ones...