Travelling with an Infant: Driving
A long drive can be strenuous for the best of us, so image how it is going to be for bub?
Over summer we did some long drives with Quen and he did well but he would get a little restless, often we were overdue a break and needed to get out of the care for a bit. One of the keys was to stop every 2 to 3 hours for breaks. Get some fresh air, a snack and stretch our legs. Plan places to stop along the way for activities or walks/ sightseeing. If it is a very long drive, break it up with an overnight stay along the way. As they say it’s all about the journey not the destination. As to when to start the journey either plan to go very early when bub is still sleepy, and you can beat the peak hour traffic or plan the trip to start when bub is due a nap to have the snoozing for the first leg of the journey. Have bub dressed in comfortable clothes that are appropriate for the weather. If it is cold in the morning but know it will warm up, go for layers, cannot go wrong. Make sure the nappy isn’t too tight. With baby in a seated position and can make it tighter and uncomfortable.
Another key was having myself in the back seat with Quen while my partner drove. This of course only works if you aren’t by yourself. This way I was able to keep him occupied by distracting him, having plenty of toys, books, music, and snacks handy to help keep bub entertained. Having new activities or toys to keep his mind occupied with a new thing to work out. Pack your bag and car to have important objects handy for yourself to prevent rummaging through your bag all the time. After the trip I wanted to invest in a car organiser as I was forever trying to find things, even though I had set up the bags and seats to have everything on hand I was shuffling things around.
Before leaving always ensure the car is safe (tires, oil etc) and the car seat is secure meaning it cannot move when you shake it. Have the car seat installed by a professional to make sure bub is safe. Never leave baby alone in the car. You may want to get petrol and go toilet while bub is asleep but never leave them alone. It can get very hot in a car and the sun comes gleaming in, have sunshades to protect bub from harmful UV rays and being burnt.
Things to have handy while traveling:
- Toys, books, music, anything that keeps them busy
- Food and snacks- cooler bag to keep food from getting warm
- Milk- think about pumping before if it is more convenient or have the formula ready thermos if a very long trip and want to keep milk or water warm
- Blanket for nap time
- Change of clothes for yourself and baby for the spills and spits
- Changing mat, rubbish bag, diapers, and wipes- you may have to do changes on the back seat so be prepared.
- Sippy cup / water- keep hydrated
- Teething toy, bonjela, Panadol and lots of bibs!
Wherever you may be going plan for an extra hour or so in the journey to allow time for rests and fun along the way. Plan some of your baby’s favourite activities for the trip to make it more fun. Show them new sites, sounds and smells along the way not just the truck stop or petrol station. Take a detour to the beach, mountain, or lake along the way for lunch. I know many of us just want to get to where we are going but think of baby being in a car seat for hours. They like to move too, so ensure they have ample opportunities along the way. Oh, and most importantly, DRIVE SAFE!