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7 Helpful Tips for a Road Trip with a Baby or Toddler

7 Helpful Tips for a Road Trip with a Baby or Toddler

By Iren Buckles | | December 4, 2018

Planning a road trip with a baby or toddler can seem like a daunting task. How will you keep your little one content while on the road? What if junior cries throughout the whole journey? How can your make sure the whole family arrives safe and sane? Worry not, fellow parents! These seven helpful tips for a road trip with a baby or toddler will ensure a smooth ride for all.

1. Don’t overdo it.

Keep in mind that babies and toddlers do not have the patience for super-long road trips that you might. Traci Suppa, author of the Go Big or Go Home blog, advises, “In our experience, the best road trips with really young children are short ones. As kids grow, so do their attention spans, allowing them to sit in a car for long stretches and remain immersed in their activities. If you have to travel a distance, schedule a daytime drive during their regular nap time.” If you have quite a long distance to drive, try to break the journey into manageable segments with stops for playing, eating, and sleeping.

2. Get in the backseat for playtime.

If you are traveling with another adult, it helps if one grown-up can ride in the backseat for at least a portion of the trip. Use your time on the road to bond with your baby. Bring along some familiar books and toys, as well as some surprise goodies. Check out our  toys for babies and toddlers.

3. Distract with snacks and meals.

Bottles for babies or finger foods for toddlers provide tasty diversions during road trips. You can also join your baby in the backseat to spoon feed pureed baby foods or rice cereal on the go. It’s important to keep children safely buckled in their car seats, though, so if your little one is still nursing, you’ll need to schedule stops for mealtime.

For toddlers, pack some healthy travel snacks like whole grain cereals, fruits chopped into bite-sized pieces and cheese cubes. Put snacks in separate containers and provide them one at a time to avoid overwhelming youngsters. I always advise bringing along a “forbidden treat” or two as well. (M&M’s Minis are my go-to choice.) If you’re like me and you’ve got a child who is particularly prone to choking, though, I’d wait to do snacks and meals at a rest stop, park or restaurant.

4. Keep all family members safe during your road trip.

Of course, your number one priority during a road trip with a baby or toddler is to arrive at your destination safe and sound. Before setting out, be sure your vehicle is up-to-date on any oil changes or scheduled maintenance. You should also keep a roadside emergency kit in your car filled with bandages, medicines, a flashlight, and other useful items. Often these come with the vehicle, or you can purchase a pre-filled kit.

It’s also important to keep your family safe from projectiles in case of a sudden stop or car accident. Anything not secured in your vehicle will fly through the air until it hits a window, dashboard, barrier or person. These projectiles can cause serious injury or even death. A “Baby on Board” sign may not do much to protect your little one during an accident but a Travall guard will. Keep any loose items like suitcases, camping gear, and travel cribs secured in the trunk or behind a Travall guard.

5. Listen to music during the journey.

Music is one of the best tools for keeping families content and entertained during a family road trip. Music provides a wonderful gateway to other cultures, too.  Listening to music in another language is an easy and fun way to expose babies and toddlers to the sounds of words of another tongue. A favorite when my kids were wee is Songs in French for Childrenby Lucienne Vernay and Les Quatres Barbus.

Dr. Jessica Voigts of Wandering Educators suggests making mix CDs or playlists for MP3 players. Include a variety of melodies that will appeal to everyone in the car.

6. Bring a bucket.

I learned this one the hard way. Plan to bring a bucket along on your road trip and keep it within arm’s distance. If your child has a bout of motion sickness or stomach flu, you’ll thank me. A simple plastic beach pail works well.

7. Watch movies on the road.

Even if you don’t allow your children to watch television or movies at home, you may want to consider bending the rules for a road trip with a baby or toddler. Worried your kids will expect a movie every time they get buckled in? Do as my friend and former neighbor, Sara, did with her children and tell them that the movies only work when you’re far from home.

If your vehicle comes equipped with a DVD player, you might as well bring a long a few movies to pop in during a long delay on the road or in case of a whopper of a meltdown.

Source: https://travelmamas.com/road-trip-with-a-baby-toddler-tips/

COLLEEN LANIN NOVEMBER 6, 2017

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Iren Buckles

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