Long drives with your baby

Travelling as a family with baby in tow, can be fun, but it does require some planning ahead.

Consider the following if you are traveling by car:

  • plan that the drive will take longer than you would normally expect.
  • take a break after every 2 hours – this gives your baby some time to be in a different position than the car seat – consider some tummy time or time on his back so he can kick and wiggle.
  • have one parent sit beside baby so you can be close by to attend to her needs – take turns with your partner – it provides each of you a break from driving or entertaining your baby.
  • you know your baby and baby’s schedule, if possible plan your trip when your baby normally naps or has a longer sleep, this will allow him to have part of their nap during the time you are driving. Try and avoid driving when your baby is having their fussy time of day.
  • some babies are more sensitive to travel than others – tummy upsets, changes in elimination or eating may happen, carry extra diapers, hand wipes and waterless wash where it can easily be reached.
  • have toys, rattles, books, music or items to distract your baby when she gets bored – even singing to her will help.

Packing:

  • pack items for baby that are used frequently at the top of their bag i.e. diapers, wipes, bibs, a variety of mix and match clothes in dark colours (they hide any spills or stains) suitable for changeable weather, suitable outdoor clothes including a hat, any diaper creams or ointments.
  • baby’s blanket, soother, or special toy, stuffed animal that baby likes will help her feel more comfortable during your trip.
  • any medication or vitamins that baby takes.
  • take a large resealable plastic bag for smelly and dirty clothes.
  • remember baby’s health card, and if you are travelling outside of your country your baby’s passport.
  • some parents find it helpful to pack a nightlight to use in their hotel room; it provides enough light if you need to attend to your baby in the middle of the night.
  • don’t forget your stroller or baby carrier
  • place an extra change of clothes at the top of your suitcase, just in case baby has a spit up that lands on you.

At your destination:

  • see if your hotel provides cribs and book one in advance of your trip.
  • when possible try to maintain baby’s normal routine including bed time routine.
  • use soft lighting or a plug-in night light if baby wakes during the night.