If you’re headed on a road trip this summer and you have a baby 12 months old or younger, you may be anticipating a difficult journey ahead of you, even if your little one loves the car seat and short jaunts about town. How do you occupy a baby who faces the rear of the vehicle? What can you bring along with you to ease any distress that may arise? Read on to learn ideas on keeping the peace in your car and still getting to your destination in good time!
Some babies enjoy riding in a car, but many do not. If you have a vacation planned, you may be choosing a car trip to save on travel fees, but if your infant can only stay asleep, happy or occupied for short stints, what are you to do?
Travel at night
If your baby is sleeping big chunks of time at night, you might think about starting out around his normal bedtime. This way you may be able to cruise through to your destination with fewer stops and a happier baby.
Ride in the backseat
Of course your baby rides in the backseat, facing the rear, so plan on having the grownups take turns riding in the backseat next to your little one, or make sure an older sibling is nearby. A friendly face will come in handy during your trip and you will also be able to tend to any needs or discomfort (such as adjusting a sun screen, adding a blanket, or returning a dropped toy).
Young infants won’t notice or care if you buy out your local toy store, but babies three months and up will likely enjoy a parade of new toys handed over during your journey. It’s a good idea to only share one toy at a time. This way you can keep a constant and revolving supply on hand and can trade out a new one when your baby grows tired of the toy. Some ideas for toys: Small stuffed animals (geared towards babies with sewn-on eyes), rattles, teethers and blocks.
Stopping often is not only a great idea, it is essential to healthy car traveling. Make plans to stop at least once every one-and-a-half to two hours, but penciling in an extra stop every now and then may be an even better bet. Get your baby out of the car seat and have a diaper change and a feed.
If your baby is mobile, find a quiet spot at a rest area and lay out a blanket for him to roll around or crawl on for 15 minutes. You also may consider putting him in a stroller or a sling and taking a quick walk. The exercise will help him sleep better and will keep you more alert as well.
Split up the trip
If you have to travel six or more hours, you might think about making the trip over two days and staying overnight. Shop online for hotel discounts or see if any relatives live along your route who would love houseguests.
Travel with an under-one may seem daunting, but with these tips in mind you will be able to carefully plan out your trip to minimize your travel time while maximizing everyone’s comfort!
more about travel with baby
Diary of a new mom: Traveling with a baby
Traveling with a new baby
International travel with babies and toddlers