Road trip with babies
1. Pack an emergency kit
I have this in the car always, and it has come in handy several times. In my baby basket emergency kit I have diapers, wipes, change of clothes for babies, long sleeve onesies, bottle of water, extra bottles and nipples, hand sanitize, tissues, vibe, spoon, baby food, puffs, lightweight blankets, sun screen, a 20 dollar bill, and socks.
Through road trips I’ve added a could other items. Emergency phone charger, some portion bars for me, a spare t shirt for me (just in case).
This basket is great when you are on the road, and when you are out of you usually routine visiting family and have a lot going on. It was so comforting to know if I forgot something, it was in the car.
2. Compact strollers- once your baby is holding up their own head invest in a compact stroller ($8-14) not pricey at all. These are great for traveling. They can double as a high chair on the road or for a short visit somewhere.
3. For longer trips: consider purchasing compact high chairs. They take up less space and are great to use at your final destination. ( Look for sales $40 is a good price)
Target: 39.99 right now!
4. Prepare entertainment for when baby is awake.
*Using links to hang toys from the head rest will allow baby to play without dropping their toy.
*Use a CD to calm baby in the weeks leading up to the trip, they will find the familiarity of it comforting. Walt and Ellie love the ice song from the beginning of frozen or the whistle song from robin hood…I have a love hate relationship with these songs now, but it is worth it to smooth them.
*Put a sensory toy near their reach. For example Walt and Ellie love these cup. They like to play with them, talk into them, bang them on their seat etc.
*The mirror for them (don’t arrange it for your viewing if you will be tempted to look at it while driving.) Using it to let them entertain themselves is a great idea.
*I always put my duffel between the babies so they can play with the strap. There is nothing they can do to get hurt with it, and it is something to hold their interest.
* Hang a strap from one side to to the other hanger holder and hang a couple toys from it. They will enjoy moving it around.
5. Drive as much as you can when they are sleeping. I always choose to drive on the morning super early so I’m the freshest, we only once drove at night and after a day of chasing little ones it was mistake. 45 minutes from home we contemplated getting a hotel because literally we were that exhausted. And we probably would have if it wouldn’t had meant setting up two pack and plays.
6. Plan stops at restaurants or parks. Let everyone eat and try to let the baby move as much as possible whether this means taking turns with your spouse eating so that one of you can be playing crawl up the parent games or playing in a grassy area allowing baby to explore. Plan to stop for about an hour and half. It will be well worth it. If weather is not good for outside play, try to find a Barnes and Noble or library that can serve as a good spot for baby to get down.
7. Safety first. Check all tires prior to trip and fill to appropriate level. Make sure fluids are good. Wash windshield, test wipers, and plan out where to get gas. When a baby is in the car “I think we can make it” is something from the past. Top off when you stop for baby to eat or be changed. If you stop later it might wake the baby and slow down your road trip.
8. Most important! Stay home the day before the road trip, run errands earlier in the week. The day before the trip make sure babies are as much in their routine as possible. Give them lots of face time with you. This will help them be happy campers in the morning.
9. Know your limits. Don’t drive to much in one day, sure you will get there where you are going faster, but you and the baby/babies will be miserable when you get there. Take you time.
These are based on my experience of driving 400 miles with babies in the car. We usually leave by 3:30 in morning, car pack night before so we get up, drink caffeine, grab the babies, and go. This gives us four uninterrupted hours of driving before first stop. After we stop for awhile we would continue with the remaining 2 hours. This helps us miss traffic and get to our destination with happy babies.
I believe six hours of driving time (=8 hrs of traveling time) is a max for our under one year olds but everyone is different. If your planning a trip maybe plan to stay in a hotel after the first 380-400 miles or six hours of drive time just to be safe.
Did you find this helpful? Want to add other advice? Comment below. 🙂