The holidays are almost here and for many people that means long car rides to visit family and friends. This year AAA is predicting the highest number of people on the road for holiday travel in more than 12 years. Check out the these five tips for surviving a road trip with your baby or toddler and how to ensure you are doing it safely.
1. If your little one is still in diapers, pack lots of extra items in the diaper bag and keep it in an easy place to access. Try to keep a portion of the back seat or the back of your van or SUV clear for diaper changes that need to happen when you can’t get to a clean rest stop. Pack a portable diaper change pad such as the Skip Hop Pronto so you know you have a clean place to change baby no matter where you are on the road. If you are in the middle of potty training, consider packing a portable potty chair or potty seat, pull ups for when you can’t get to the potty and lots of extra clothes.
2. Snacks, snacks and more snacks. If your baby has started to eat solids and most definitely if you are traveling with a toddler, pack plenty of snacks to fight of any “hangry” tantrums. Snacks can not only keep your baby satisfied between meals, they can be a great way to keep a fussy little one happy when you are stuck in traffic with not a lot of other options. Snacks also means bringing lots of wipes and small garbage bags so you can keep your kids and your car somewhat clean on the road. Try this snack container from Ubbi to avoid spills.
3. Make sure to keep safety your first priority by properly securing your little one into their car seat at all times. To avoid your baby or toddler getting uncomfortable and cranky, build extra time into your trip for stops to get out of the car seat and stretch their little legs. Check out sites like Map of Play, which will allow you to quickly search for local parks and playgrounds near where you are. When you head out on your road trip make sure you dress baby in soft, breathable clothes to ensure they don’t get overheated or uncomfortable.
4. Pack the night before if possible and make sure you have the most important stuff within arm’s reach. Hopefully you are traveling with another adult so one of you can pass back toys and other items, but don’t give all the distractions too quickly. Make sure you save some fun toys or books to use when things come up like weather or a traffic jam. Whether you are traveling with a baby or toddler, age-appropriate music can be a great tool to keep them happy and entertained.
5. Make sure you or your traveling partner never become a distracted driver on your road trip. Start by also packing all your items like snacks and water within arm’s reach. Make sure you have a hands-free device for your phone set up and ready to go before you hit the road. Despite what you may think, also avoid using rear view baby mirrors. These mirrors seem like a good idea because you can keep an eye on baby but every second you are staring at your baby or toddler in that mirror means you aren’t looking at the road ahead.