These tried and tested tips should make for a less stressful car journey with your infant.
Planning a road trip with a small baby can be rather daunting, especially for first-time parents but worry not. Follow these seven helpful and practical tips to ensure a smooth ride if you are planning a long car journey with an infant.
Car Seat Safety
First and foremost, is your baby's car seat fitted correctly? According to the Road Safety Authority of Ireland, four in five car seats are installed incorrectly. Follow all safety instructions and ensure it’s right for their height and weight. Rear-facing up to two years of age is 500% safer, even at speeds we adults may think are minor.
Plan The Trip
Does your baby sleep well in the car? If so, plan your trip around their nap times so your baby can sleep through part of the journey. And before hitting the road, be prepared and research safe pit stops and save them on Google maps.
Have a good combination of brightly coloured toys to occupy them during your road trip, bonus points for ones that make noise and can be adjusted safely to the back headrest. Nursery rhymes CD’s or songs via Bluetooth might come in handy too.
The 2-hour Rule
Most car seats manufacturers recommend no longer than two hours at a time, but that’s still a very long time to be strapped into a car seat for an infant. Babies are unpredictable and may need more breaks than expected. Be prepared to stop every hour to allow them to stretch their legs.
Comfort Is The Key
Use car window shades to keep your baby out of the sun and at a comfortable temperature.
And if it’s cold, wrap the baby with a blanket tucked over their fastened harness for warmth. No matter the age of the child, they should not wear a coat underneath a car seat. It can leave the harness too loose, and in the event of a road crash, they can slip through the car seat straps and be thrown from their seat.
Keep Them In Sight At All Times
If another adult is travelling with you, it would be a good idea to have them sit in the back to keep an eye on the baby. Alternatively invest in a wide back seat mirror and make sure it is installed correctly to the headrest of the rear seat.
Pack Like A Pro
Pack for all eventualities with essentials such as bottles, soothers, nappies, bibs, wipes, food, a bottle warmer, blankets and spare clothes, and pack extras. In the event of a roadblock or diversion of any sort, you will be prepared. Use a back-of-the-seat organiser or caddy to keep everything together and easier to find, and try to leave a small space in the boot or seats for nappy changes.
And remember, never leave your baby alone in the car, not even for a minute.