I have raised 3 children of my own and am now a grandmother so I’ve learned a few things about travelling with a baby on a long road trip. It is not something you jump into without preparation unless you enjoy misery. Travelling with my own kids by car has taught me valuable lessons that are now second nature to me as a grandmother. I’d like to share a little of what I’ve learned.
It is the law that children travelling in cars be secured in car seats suited to their age and size. Make sure your car seat is in good condition before undertaking a long road trip with a baby. Make sure the car is in sound working order. Check the tires, lights and signals. Get an oil change and a tune up and make sure all fluids are topped off. The last thing you want is to be stranded on the side of the road with a baby in tow.
Just like anyone else, babies get tired of being strapped into those car seats for long periods. Plan to make several stops, depending on the length of your trip. This gives the baby the chance to interact with others, crawl or walk around for a while.
Alternate who is sitting next to the baby if possible to add variety to the baby’s field of view. Bring a variety of toys to rotate through to keep the baby from becoming bored and irritable. Some babies respond well to music. If you are unsure about the kind of music the baby enjoys, bring a variety of tapes or CDs. A favorite toy or blanket might also be helpful.
If the baby is breast fed and Mom is also travelling, you’ve got it made. Otherwise you will need to pack bottled water and powdered formula, or readymade formula. You will need bottles and a bottle brush to clean them at rest stops. Don’t forget to clean them because nothing smells worse than stale baby formula left in a hot car.
A bottle warmer that plugs into an electric car adapter or an outlet at a rest stop to warm bottles is handy. If the baby is older, naturally you will want to bring food and snacks appropriate to the baby’s age. Don’t forget bibs, wet wipes and towels. Diapers, diaper wipes and a pad to change the baby on are important to have as well as several changes of clothes. My youngest son did not tolerate car travel well and vomited on even short trips into town. It’s better to be prepared.
A basic baby tool kit is also a good idea. This would contain a thermometer, bulb syringe, baby Tylenol, a teething ring, and pacifiers if the baby uses them, a hat that keeps sun out of the baby’s eyes and a blanket. Automobile air conditioning maybe stronger than what the baby is used to or may blow directly on the area where the car seat needs to be secured.
It may seem like a lot of work but if travelling on a long road trip with a baby is unavoidable, the more prepared you are and the more comfortable the baby is, the better the trip will go.
Sources: Personal Experience