Guest Author: Millie Fuller
It can be stressful to take a baby on a first-time road trip. Trying to keep everyone in the car happy, including yourself, while worrying if you've brought enough supplies and all the necessary items. Which, to be honest, can be difficult enough. Despite this, travelling with a baby can be fun and a wondrous experience.
The greatest way to guarantee a trouble-free first car trip with a baby is to prepare for every conceivable situation.
If you prepare, taking a baby on the road doesn't have to be difficult
Making the most of your time together while on your first road trip with a baby requires advance planning.
Traveling with a baby doesn't have to be challenging if you prepare and take care of every aspect, from packing necessary materials ahead of time to scheduling frequent pauses for feeding, changing, playing, and napping (or even just getting some fresh air). Plan your trip, ensuring sure your Satnav devices are up to date with all the latest updates.
Car Maintenance and Car seats
Before you take your baby on their first road trip, you need to make sure that the car is road worthy and able to make the long distances.
Ensure your tyres have plenty of treads and have optimum pressure. This is not only for safety but will save you money and fuel in the long-term. “If the tyre pressure of your car is too low, your car will need more fuel to get it moving” says caruno.
Make sure all lights are functioning as they should be and test your breaks before setting off.
Ensure that your insurance, tax, and MOTs are all up to date. Purchase roadside breakdown cover for those just in case moments. The last thing that you want to happen is break down on the motorway and have no way of receiving help.
Once you’ve done these checks, that should only take around 20 minutes, look at your baby’s car seat. This need to be fitted correctly. When you purchase a car seat, most stores will ensure that it is properly fitted. Make sure it's appropriate for the height and weight of your child and follow all safety recommendations. The straps on your child's car seat should be tightened so that there is only room for one finger between the strap and their body. This will guarantee your child's safety in addition to their comfort in their car seat.
Do test runs in the car, taking longer on each journey will help your baby adjust to being in their car seat.
We also advise bringing a car seat mirror so you can monitor how they're doing. Spit-ups requiring another stop or knowing when your child is taking a nap, will help you decide whether you can fit in another hour of travel.
Plan your route
A successful road trip is all in the planning.
• Decide a time that’s best to leave. It's simplest to accept that travelling with babies will probably take much longer than it would if you were travelling alone. The best strategy is to plan your drive around the time when your child typically falls asleep.
• Plan Breaks. If the trip is long, plan lots of stops for them. It's important to avoid leaving babies in a car seat for too long. If you need to allow for an overnight stay.
• Know your Route. Have your Satnav positioned in the car clearly where you can see it. If yours is anything like mine and falls off constantly, make sure its fixed securely in position. Have a backup plan in place by writing down your route on a piece of paper, just in case the Satnav stops working.
Road Trip Packing List
What to pack? Make a list of things you’re going to need and check them off one by one as you pack them. This way you’re least likely to forget anything essential.
• Powdered milk (if required)
• Breast Pump (if required)
• Portable changing mat
• Wipes / cottonwool
• Hand sanitiser
• Nappy bags
• Sun cream
• Baby toys
• First Aid Kit
• Teething rings
• Disposable bed pads (or even puppy training pads) for those nappy leakages.
• Phone chargers
Make the Road Trip Fun
Most babies will enjoy a car ride if it's fun. The child waving from the car in the next lane on the highway or the lorry you pass might catch their interest enough. But other distractions for smaller babies include toys clipped to the car seat's overhead bar or a book fastened to the seat.
It can be simpler to travel when there is someone in the back seat to provide comfort or entertainment. Longer-lasting distractions for a babies can include singing and playing games. Babies frequently prefer spending time in person with their family to time spent playing with toys.
Choking is a problem, even if providing a baby with some nibbles to munch on during a car ride can be a useful diversion. For two major reasons, it's generally advised against providing your child snacks when travelling. The risk of choking and how swiftly to respond to it come first. Second, there is a chance of an accident if you turn to give your youngster a food.
It's safer to provide time for a snack before the journey or to pull over if necessary while driving.
Stop at the services or pull over if you are feeding a baby a bottle or nursing him or her. It's risky to remove a child from their car seat to give them a bottle while driving, even if you are in the backseat with your baby.
The Journey Home
You survived the journey here!
Now the road trip home. You’ll need to plan and organise this too. But this time think about what you’ve learnt on the way here that could make things easier. Is there something you could have changed? Did you forget something? Make those adjustments, to make the road trip home more relaxed.
Guest Author: Millie Fuller
Millie Fuller is a creative copywriter with a love of life (and a thirst for coffee). When she's not furiously typing, you'll find her in the garden or reading.