How To Travel Safely With Your Baby In The Car


Travel With Your Baby In The Car

Driving with your baby, no matter the distance can be a stressful experience. However, you can turn it around and make it an excellent experience for the whole family with careful planning and a bit of creativity.

There's no telling whether your baby will be sound asleep during the ride or cry non-stop and refuse to sleep. There's no way to know how your child will behave or if the whole experience will be the same as your last trip.

However, you don't have to dread your next journey with your little one on board. You can make it as smooth as possible by following these Life Sciences Discovery Fund tips on how to have a successful road trip with your baby.

Safety and Baby Car Seats

Safety should be on top of your priority list of course! It is vital that you buy the right car seat for your baby's size and age, as well as install it suitably. Safety car seats come in the following basic types:

  • Rear-facing. Designed to accommodate infants for up to 35lbs.
  • Convertible car seat. A combination of rear-facing and front-facing seats. It usually has a weight limitation of up to 45lbs on the rear-face position. Once your child has outgrown its rear-facing mode, you can switch it to the forward-facing position for your toddler.
  • Booster seat. This type is for children who have outgrown the weight and height limits of their forward-facing seats, normally around 40 to 65 lbs. Your child is not yet ready at this stage to use your vehicle's safety belt so you should put him in a belt-positioning booster seat until he is at least 4'9 in height or between the ages of 8 and 12.
Baby Car Seats

Make sure to purchase a car seat before giving birth. It is required by law for newborns to be in an infant car seat when traveling home in a car from the hospital. It will also be easier on your part to familiarize yourself with it sooner.

You may also want to consider purchasing two car seats if you have multiple vehicles. It's an investment that will not only save you time in the future but also avoid installation mistakes due to rushing to move the seat from one vehicle to the next.

Moreover, it is crucial to read the manufacturer's manual carefully before installation. Before installing it, run through the user manual's instructions at least twice to ensure proper installation. It is also recommended to install the seat in the middle of your car's back seat.

Prepare your Car

If you're planning on a long ride, make sure that your car is prepared and safe. Before hitting the road, take it to a mechanic or dealership for inspection. You don't want to see yourself in the middle of nowhere with a broken car with your baby. It is best to find out any car issues beforehand instead of running into an unexpected problem during your trip. Replace or repair parts if necessary. Also, do not forget to fill up your gas tank, change its oil if needed, and check the pressure of each tire.

Plan Frequent Stops

Plan Frequent Stops

When traveling with a baby, expect it to be longer especially if you have a newborn baby. You need to plan frequent stops strategically. It is not ideal for your infant to be in a car seat for long hours since it can hurt his back. Let your infant stretch out on his stroller or blanket. You can also use this time to stretch your legs, go on a bathroom break or have a snack.

If you have a toddler, try to stop for lunch in a place that has a play area. You may also consider packing your lunches and stop at a rest area with a picnic or a playground. If it's not possible, give your children at least 15 to 20 minutes to run around to burn their energies.

When having meals, plan a longer stop. You may spend a bit more time than necessary, but you can avoid unplanned stops because of a cranky kid having a meltdown.

Pack Wisely

When packing, try to fill all your baby's stuff in a bag. Instead of packing them where you need them, pack them where they'll fit. Make sure your diaper bag is placed somewhere that's easily accessible. Aside from stocking it with the usual wipes and diapers, bring along a change of clothes, pajamas, blanket, pacifier, snacks and plastic bags to toss in messes.

Keep your Child Entertained

Do not forget to bring plenty of toys and books to keep your child entertained. Mix your child's favorites with new ones so that he will not get bored. Instead of letting your child play with his toys all at once, give it to him one a time so that when he gets bored with one toy, just give him a new one. You may also want to bring along a portable DVD player if you have one for your toddler or older baby. Your child may enjoy watching his favorite cartoon show instead of the view outside.

Comfort

Keeping your baby comfortable is one of the best ways to ensure that your road trip will go smoothly. Strap your baby in his car seat properly to ensure that he is both safe and comfortable. If you're traveling during the day, you may want to protect your child from the sun's ray with removable window shades.