Be prepared for road trips with your baby.
If you’re a new parent, or a soon-tobe new parent, you’ve likely been told that having a baby will turn your life upside down. From sleep, or a lack of it, to a quick trip to the store, when Baby makes three, he or she also makes life a little more interesting to navigate, especially once it’s time for a road trip.
What used to be a great way to escape for a quick vacation will suddenly seem fraught with hurdles such as nap schedules, diaper changes and feedings. However, it’s possible to get out of the house with your new family for a longer drive than a run to the grocery store by following our tips and packing some extra patience for your road trips with little ones.
Naptime Equals Drive Time
It seems like everyone tells new parents to sleep when the baby sleeps (as if that really happens), but for road trips what they should say is jump in the car and drive when it’s naptime. If you’ve got an infant who is logging two naps a day, count your lucky stars and then plan your road trip to coincide with those naps. Speaking of planning, make sure to schedule lots of breaks for you and your baby, and also make sure that the driver is well rested. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night, which can be a tall order for new parents. However, it’s important because 1 in 6 deadly crashes is attributed to drowsy driving, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Pack Some Plastic Bags
From gallon-sized zippered plastic bags to plastic grocery bags to even a roll of dog bags, it’s important to have a stash of them for storing anything and everything in your car or on your baby that could be puked, peed or pooped on. Things just got real.
Bring Extra Clothes and Diapers
Once you’ve cleaned up your little darling’s disgusting mess, it’s important to have a spare set or two of clothes and diapers to cover all the contingencies. One of Cars.com’s staff dads likes to keep his kids’ spare clothes in gallon-sized plastic bags, giving him a place to temporarily store the dirtied clothes.
Baby Wipes Fix Everything
OK, that’s an overstatement, but when it comes to life in the car with a baby, they work some serious magic. Not only do they easily tidy up your baby’s delicate skin, but they can also tackle messes on your car’s cloth seats, which can be harder to clean than leather seats. They’re also great for wiping noses and cleaning messy hands as well as any car surfaces that may have been sneezed on.
As you set out for your first road trip with your baby, remember to keep your trip on the shorter side — now is not the time to drive cross-country — and keep your expectations in check. If your little one is letting you know that he or she has logged enough time in the car seat, take a longer break to allow everyone to refuel his or her patience.