The American Automobile Association projects that approximately 43 million Americans will be traveling this holiday weekend. Independence Day weekend has always been a popular time for travel, with people visiting family, vacationing, or attending special events. If you happen to be one of those travelers, read on. We have compiled some valuable tips for traveling with your baby, which will hopefully help your trip run smoother!
Packing for Your Baby
One of the most important parts of traveling with your baby is preparation. Making sure that your baby has everything they need to feel comfortable and well adjusted will make the trip better for everyone! Some travel essentials to pack include: new toys and books, car window shades, extra onesies, extra formula and bottles, diapers, a changing mat, and snacks for older infants/toddlers. Have a designated area in your car for all of these items so that you can easily reach them if needed.
Car Seat Safety
Obviously, safety should be a top priority when traveling. Make sure that car seats are installed correctly, up to date (check expiration), undamaged, and comfortable for your baby. According to the Mayo Clinic, common car seat issues include: incorrectly installing the car seat, moving to a forward-facing car seat too soon, placing the car seat in the wrong spot (should be in center of back seat), or angling the car seat incorrectly. Before traveling, thoroughly read the directions that came with your baby’s car seat and make sure you are installing it correctly. The website safercar.gov has some helpful videos on car seat installation, and you may want to check those out too.
Take Plenty of Breaks
During a long trip, stopping for a short break can work wonders. Plan to stop every now and then for snacks/meals, restroom breaks, and just to stretch and take a break from sitting in the car. If you stop at a rest area or park, take your baby for a short walk in the stroller. Your baby will appreciate the time out of his or her car seat, and when your baby is relaxed and comfortable, the trip will go much smoother!
Adjusting to the New Location
Whether you are staying with family or in a hotel, it will take time for your baby to adjust to a new area. When you arrive, try to make the area feel like “home” as much as possible. Unpack your baby’s favorite toys, blankets, and anything else that comforts your baby. Try to follow the same routines that you follow at home for feedings and bedtime. Familiarity is the key to making your baby feel comfortable and at ease in a new location.
Traveling with little ones can be challenging at times, but hopefully these tips will help as you prepare for this weekend’s road trip. Remember that preparation, safety, and familiarity will make the trip enjoyable for you and your baby. Have a safe and happy Independence Day!
Written by Karen Richards