How to Plan A road Trip With A Baby/Toddler
Want to hit the road with your toddler in tow? Don’t panic, we bring to you’re the complete guide for road trip planning. If you get the basics right, you can definitely enjoy a long car ride with your toddler. What about babies, you ask? Well pretty much the same guidelines, but you’ll have a lot less to carry in terms of entertainment and culinary delights :-D.
- First and foremost, ensure your toddler is safely secured during the car drive. Children below the age of 12 are the safest in the rear seat and restrained. A car seat for your child is a good option to consider even if it is not the law in your country. However, if you are using a car seat, ensure that your toddler is seating on your lap in the rear seat, and the seat belt goes over him/her and buckled snugly.
- If possible, try to plan the maximum of your drive during your baby’s sleep time or nap time. For example, late nights and early mornings are good options as the rhythmic car movement will help your baby to be lulled to sleep and you have to worry less about food, diapering, etc. Similarly, if it is just a 2-4 hour drive, you can make use of your baby’s day naps!
- Do not alter the baby’s schedule as far as possible. Babies and toddlers are sticklers for consistency and routine – they behave best when things happen as they are used to. This means, wherever you are headed, however, long the trip, ensure that you adhere to your little one’s feed time, nap/sleep time, and diaper change schedule.
- Change your baby’s diaper every 2 hours, religiously. When on the go, it is easy to get distracted and forget your darling’s toosh. But you know what, having to sit on a wet diaper is not only bad for rashes but also extremely uncomfortable for the baby.
- Take frequent breaks if your journey lasts more than just a couple of hours. Use the break to change diapers, stretch your limbs, let your kid walk around, crawl around, take in some fresh air.
- Stock your diaper bag well. Your diaper bag should carry more than the required quantity of diapers and wipes, changing mat, an anti-rash cream
- Carry extra clothes for everyone! That’s the advantage of your own car – you have no maximum carry on limits to adhere too. Change of air, constant sitting, etc. can make children throw up more often than they otherwise do. So not only carry extra changes for your baby but also for all those travelling – you don’t know who your little one chooses for the spit up, right?
- Poly bags and more poly bags. I am sorry if this sounds harsh to the environmentalists. But you do need lots of poly bags – for soiled diapers (not only if you are using cloth diapers but also when using disposable ones, you might not have a trash can readily accessible at all times), for soiled clothes, for your toddler to puke into, for dirty utensils, cutlery etc etc.
- First aid kit is a must. Actually, forget just long drives, there should be a first aid kit available in your car always. It should have the following: band-aids, antibacterial ointment, rubbing alcohol/dettol/savlon for cleaning, cotton pads, gauze pads, and thermometer.
- Extra medicines for your little bundle. You will need infant crocin/Tylenol, anti-gas medicine such as Mylicon/Colic aid or whatever your baby is used to.
- Don’t forget to carry your child’s latest medical record/status. This does not have to be anything too complicated – just a simple print out (single sheet) with your child’s name, date of birth, any known and current allergies, medication and health condition, blood group, parents and guardians’ names and addresses. Infact, my OB/GYN used to insist that I carry something like this during my pregnancy in my car always. If your doctor can’t prepare one for you, you can do it yourself.
- Carry food that is easy to put together and serve. You could carry single serve sized yogurt packs, snacks such as cheese cubes or string cheese, fruits such as banana, avocado, mango etc. that don’t require too much mashing etc, cerelac or other baby cereals such as Gerber’s, Heinz etc. that just requires simple mixing, readymade baby food jars (great option considering the hygiene and safety factor), homemade food such as parathas, toasts etc also stay good for atleast 4-6 hours.
- Try to use disposable plates, cutlery, sippy cups, bottles etc. as much as possible. Again not an environment friendly option, but given the problem that cleanliness or the lack of it poses, it is always better to be safe. With disposable items you don’t have to worry about storage, cleaning etc.
- Carry hot water in flask to warm milk bottles and food jars. Buy a good flask that keep water hot for 6-8 hours. You can use that to warm milk, formula, and even food.
- If you are a frequent traveler, invest in a good ice box. Ice box is a savior for really long trips and if you do go out on such trip every fortnight or month, this is a great buy. Just pile it up with ice and you can store food, yogurt, milk etc.
- Carry lots of entertainment options for your toddler. Long hours in the car can be boring for anybody, more so for a restless toddler who’d rather be crawling or walking around instead of being strapped in. To ease the restlessness, carry your toddler’s favorite books, toys, small soft cushioned balls to throw around, push and play toys like a talking book, a singing puppy, or even his/her favorite rhymes in the form of an audio cd.
How often do you go on a road trip with your toddler?
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