Traveling with a baby can go smoothly as long as you are prepared. Whether traveling or not, babies need changed, fed, entertained, and naps. It can be challenging when traveling with a baby by car for several hours, so make sure to come prepared and you will put yourself, and the baby, in the best position to have a pleasant travel experience.
Keep Your Baby Comfortable
The seats in cars have several reclining options, heated options, and plush leather materials. Baby car seats are not as advanced. Make sure your baby’s car seat is properly installed and is safely secured before driving. If your baby does not have enough legroom, he will feel scrunched and uncomfortable. The same will be true if the harness is too tight. It is important to review the car seat settings regularly because babies grow fast. The seat’s settings need to be monitored regularly for safety. All car seats are different, so refer to the user’s manual of your car seat for more information. Even if your baby’s car seat is comfortable, there are other factors to consider that will put a damper on comfort such as sun shining into their eyes.
Tinted windows in SUV’s and minivans do a great job of blocking sun from shining into your baby’s eyes. If your car does not have tinted windows, and your baby is unwilling to wear sunglasses, attach a suction-cup sun visor to the interior side windows of your car. This is especially important for babies who are using car seats that are rear facing. Keeping the sun out of your baby’s eyes will help with falling and staying asleep, as well as prevent any UV radiation damage to their eyes.
Bring Snacks and Fluids for Baby
Most adults become irritable if they are hungry or dehydrated – and this can be worse for a baby. Pack non-perishable foods and bring a cooler with ice packs to keep milk cold. If you don’t have or want to bring a cooler, pack milk boxes, which are similar to juice boxes and can be safely served at room temperature. If you are using a breast pump and are unsure about where you will find an electrical outlet, consider purchasing a car power inverter. There is a plug on all inverters that charges from the car’s cigarette lighter. Most car inverters include two power outlets. For most users, a car power inverter that is between 150-300 watts is sufficient. A well fed and hydrated baby must also be entertained during travel.
Be Prepared to Entertain the Baby
Entertainment during a long trip helps make the time appear to go faster. Pack your baby’s favorite books, toys, and videos to keep them from getting fidgety in their car seat. Use a portable DVD player, tablet, or smartphone for playing videos for the baby. If traveling with additional passengers, have someone sit next to the baby and ask for their assistance in providing the baby with entertainment. This will keep the driver from any backseat distractions. In addition to being entertained, it is important to keep the baby feeling comfortable for the duration of the trip.
A well-fed, hydrated, comfortable, and entertained baby is a big key to the success of having a smooth travel experience. Set aside time before your trip to fully prepare for everything you need to pack. If necessary, consider purchasing a cooler, milk boxes, car power inverter, and sun visor. Being well-prepared for your baby’s needs will make traveling less stressful.