You’re a mommy on the move, so of course you want to keep your baby safe and happy (and ideally, asleep) while you’re in the car. Good news — you can get her buckled up and ready to go in no time with these travel tips for road-tripping with babies. Here’s how to have a smooth ride:
Travel tips for driving with a baby
Now that you know how to stay sane while driving your sweetheart, check out our must-have list of car seats.
- Pack for playtime. If your babe tends to be an (audibly) unhappy passenger (or your travel schedule is set so you’re on the road when she's wide awake), it's time for plan D: distractions! Any time you’ll be driving with your baby, be sure to grab some of her favorite music and toys to pack in her baby bag. Or you can surprise her with new toys, too — the novelty will buy you a bit of extra time.
- Stay in your seat. Is your baby a pacifier fan? Try this car-safety solution for both of you — get a tether that clips her binky to her shirt or car-seat strap. That'll make driving with a baby easier (and safer) since you won't have to unbuckle yourself and dive under the seats every time she's dropped her paci.
- Buckle everything up. You don't want to put on the brakes to pick up a dropped lovey every few blocks. Use a tether or set of plastic links to attach some toys to the seat so she’s constantly entertained (and so nothing falls to the floor to cue crying). You can also fasten a lightweight, unbreakable mirror to the seat in front of her — as you’ve probably noticed, babies love a looking glass.
- Switch it up. If there's another adult on board, take turns at the wheel — one drives, one entertains the troops. These travel activities make great on-the-go games.
- Give it a rest. When it's mealtime, make a pit stop. You might lose a few minutes, but it’s much easier than dining and driving with baby. That’s a messy, complicated business, and it’s none too safe to juggle bottles, jars and spoons while you're hurtling down the highway.
- Take bathroom breaks. Take advantage of rest stop changing tables to get your baby out of her diaper before you get back on the road. And when you travel with a baby, you also want to travel with a changing pad. It’s a must-have for covering those questionably clean public changing tables.
- Hit the road when your baby's winding down. Got a baby who tends to zone out or even fall asleep in her car seat? It can help to drive for short intervals when she's drowsy. Just avoid letting her sleep in her car seat for extended periods of time, as longer stretches of snoozing in a seat are associated with an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), especially in younger babies under 6 months old. If she does fall asleep while you're behind the wheel, check on her frequently and be sure to move her out of the car seat as soon as possible to a safer sleep spot.