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11Sep 13

Travelling by car with a baby on board

Car journeys with a baby can be a stressful experience for first-time parents. The sights and sounds of traffic can be stressful for your baby, too! With cars honking, tyres screeching, motors revving and traffic whizzing by, it’s no wonder some babies become unsettled.

But there are certain things mum and dad can do to make travelling by car with a baby easier for everyone on board.

Traveling by car with a baby on board

Travelling by car with a baby on board

Encourage sleep

Try to plan car journeys for when your baby is due for a nap. That way, he or she can doze off while you navigate traffic. Always travel with a soft blanket to encourage your baby to sleep in the car, especially if the journey is long or you are travelling at night.

Things generally take a lot longer when young children are involved, so make sure you leave extra time to complete the trip. Drive at a steady speed and avoid any harsh breaking so that once your little one is asleep, he or she stays that way.

Travel activities for babies

On long journeys, it is important to plan some travel activities for babies to keep them busy. Pack a bag full of rattles, toys and other safe and appropriate bits and bobs for baby to chew on. You can also bring along music that your children like, and don’t forget to sing along!

If you are travelling at night and your baby does not like the dark, make sure that you bring a torch or a soft toy with a light to keep them company.

Many babies eventually adapt to being in the car, so much so that the sound of the running engine and the motion of the car will almost immediately send them to sleep. In that case, plan breaks and activities during the journey that will wake them up. Remember, if they sleep all day they won’t sleep at night!

Child car seats

Child car seats need to be properly fitted to ensure that your baby is protected. For the first year, babies should travel in rear-facing car seats so that their head and neck are supported, especially if the car brakes suddenly brakes. When you install a car seat, check that it is levelled and the base is secured enough that it does not move more than one inch in any direction. If you are having trouble or doubt about this, you can visit a police or fire station for help.

All car seats are different, so make sure that you don’t throw away the instruction manual when you buy one. As your baby grows, he or she will need a new car seat that is age appropriate. If you want to give away your old car seat to friends or relatives, you will need that instruction manual!

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