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Keep Your Sanity - Traveling By Car With Baby

Updated on March 24, 2013

When Infants and Toddlers Travel By Car

Infants and toddlers are challenged to stay for long hours in a vehicle without suffering from upset. For this reason, it's critical to plan long stops for the child to play, exercise and enjoy their surroundings outside of the vehicle. At this age, the best time to be traveling on the road will be during nap times and at bedtime. During the other periods of the day, enjoy the sites and do not feel overly pressured to complete the journey in record time. There are some infants and toddlers that will be entertained while awake as well but this usually is for limited periods of time and cannot be counted on. Unexpected surprises in this age range include teething upset, sudden illness or indigestion from new foods. Since infants and toddlers crave parental comforting when feeling this way, they typically will not want to stay in their infant/toddler seats when feeling poorly. When a child is very ill and unhappy (perhaps with a fever or vomiting), it is better to just take a day off the road to rest.

Some great diversions do exist for the young traveler who can manage an hour or two awake in their seat. Consider the following items as possible schedule savers and entertainment choices for your baby or toddler. Look below the toys for a handy baby travel list for a proactive approach to baby travel.

By the time the baby is crying this hard, YOU  missed all the signs that you should have STOPPED the car sooner to feed, change diapers, etc. Exception: If you have a baby that is colicky and the car is the ONLY place the baby actually DOESN'T cry!
By the time the baby is crying this hard, YOU missed all the signs that you should have STOPPED the car sooner to feed, change diapers, etc. Exception: If you have a baby that is colicky and the car is the ONLY place the baby actually DOESN'T cry! | Source

Travel Toys To Entertain Baby

Key Items Can Help Keep Travel With Baby Pleasant

A few key items can go a long way. Here is a baby travel list to consider:

  • Have a window shade blocker. Keep the sun out of baby's eyes.
  • Hang a photo montage on the back of the front seat that baby faces. - They sell items that do this or you can tape up your own pictures from magazines, of toys, of smiling faces, or of family. Digital photo montages can be mounted on the back of the front seat, similar to when car movie players are attached.
  • Diaper bag stocked with all you favorite diapering necessities and extra clothing.
  • Cooler of baby food and bottles. Even if you only breastfeed, bottles come in handy if you pump while baby sleeps so you can keep going down the road when baby wakes up while en route (if baby lets you keep going!), especially if baby breast feeds at length, which may cause a long travel delay. NEVER breastfeed baby on your lap while the car is in motion!
  • Baby blankets and pillow keep baby comfy on the road.
  • Baby medication can help with teething or sudden illness.

Yes, they often DO sleep like angels.  But when they wake up, it's time to stop the car and check the diaper!
Yes, they often DO sleep like angels. But when they wake up, it's time to stop the car and check the diaper! | Source

Don't Forget You!

You are the ultimate baby entertainer! Consider taking turns with the other adult(s) you travel with to entertain baby by reading to baby, playing with baby with toys together, and showing pictures to baby while talking about them to baby. Just by sitting next to baby, your baby will feel more reassured by your presence, too. While traveling with a baby can be challenging, it also can be fun and worth the effort.

My experience in traveling on a long road trip with a baby can be best summed up:

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