When your baby is born, many people cannot wait to start their lives together. From grocery shopping to traveling, you can’t wait to start your new life as a family. Since extended family does not necessarily live close to us, we need to travel long distances to see them. However, how soon can a newborn travel long distance by car? Some doctors have an age recommendation. Secondly, you will need a few things to be ready to take your first road trip. We dive in on the right time to start traveling depending on what your baby needs and when you all are ready and some of the things you will have to get to help with your trip and why.
Can a 1 Month Old Go On A Road Trip?
Many parents can’t wait to start their lives with their baby. Can a one month old go on a road trip? Not so fast, says many doctors. You may want to wait until the baby is minimally six weeks old before venturing off on your first road adventure. There are many factors to consider. Firstly, your infants immune system isn’t fully developed yet. Ideally, you can start a long distance road trip with your little one at three months old.
How long should a newborn be in the car for?
Minimizing a long distance road trip for a newborn is ideal, but we understand that this is not possible for all families. If you can keep your newborn in a car for two hours at a time, this would be beneficial. A newborn needs a lot of care so we highly recommend the parent who is not driving to sit next to the baby in the car. This means one parent is in the backseat of the vehicle next to the baby while the other parent is in the front seat driving. If you don’t have another parent or caregiver on your drive, the best thing to do is keep a close eye on your baby. Since your baby is rear facing, be sure to buy a carseat mirror so you can see your child’s face while you are traveling.
Safely Parking While Traveling With Your Baby
If traveling solo, it is important to know if your child is sleeping, disturbed, crying or choking. If possible, Pull over every fifteen to twenty minutes to check on your baby. Infants can overheat fast or fuss. They would also need to be fed and burped. Alternatively, make sure to park in a safe and well lit place when traveling with your baby. Choose parking lots of big boxed stores with a lot of people around, police stations and safe mall parking lots that are not underground. That way, you can help and care for your baby in a safe space.
Must Read: Kids in Cars: How To Keep Your Children Safe While Driving
What You Need To Travel On A Road Trip With Your Infant
it is time to plan your first road trip with your infant! You know you should stop every few hours and if traveling solo, every fifteen minutes or so. However, there are a few things that you will need when you are traveling with your baby. Here are a few of the items that we love when traveling long distances with your baby.
Medical Insurance/ Health Card
If you are traveling with your baby, be sure that if you are American, they have their medical insurance. Having the proper insurance for your baby is integral before you travel. Secondly, make sure they are registered under your plan. Double check with your insurance company before you go. If you are Canadian, British or from other countries, be sure that your child has their health card and that you have it on you before you travel. This will bring you peace of mind during your road trip.
A Car Seat
All vehicles are required when carrying infants to have a car seat for their infant. Car seats should be rear facing, or when the babies face is facing the seat in which their car seat is on. It is highly recommended that you see a car seat specialist to install your car seat properly before your big trip.
Car seats should be no older than seven years old. Every car seat has an expiry date and that date should be honored. As car seats get more and more durable, we want our children to have only the highest standard of safety. Similarly, parents should not use a car seat that has been in a car accident, no matter how minor. Secondly, one should never use a car seat that has been in a car accident. Even if the car seat looks find, it could have damage that you are unaware of. Sudden stops, car accidents do happen so an up to date car seat that is installed by an expert is integral.
Car Seat Mirror
Along with your new car seat installed, consider getting a car seat mirror! Since all newborns must be rear faced until they are at least one year old, a car seat mirror helps you see from your review mirror the face of your baby. You can tell if your baby is starting to fuss, cry or fall asleep. This is helpful to know when you have to pull over and give you some extra time, even if it is just for a few minutes!
Sun Screen For Window
This little black translucent screen simply sticks onto your side window where your babies car seat is. It is simple and can be brought up or down depending on what your baby needs. It takes seconds to install, is inexpensive and can make your baby very comfortable. The sun screen for your window is easily adjustable and simple to bring the screen up and down.
This is great for newborns as it keeps the sun out. It can help them get a better sleep if they are napping or not become fussy as their is no sun in their eyes. It means a more comfortable baby and more pleasant long distance trips.
A diaper bag is essential for long distance trips. It is going to have all of your key items and keep them together. From diapers to wipes to a diaper pad, this bag is going to transform the way you change diapers on the road. Similarly, it will also have a receiving blanket, things for you and snacks for baby and yourself. The diaper bag is going to be a great place to store anything else that you will need for this long trip ahead of you.
Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, you may want to store milk. Having a small bottle cooler will help keep your formula or breast milk at a safe temperature for a few hours. That means when baby is hungry, you can pull over and feed them immediately. Alternatively, you could breast feed, but some small cars are uncomfortable. A lot of families bottle feed on the road but this is your choice! The option of stored milk is there for you while you go on your road adventure.
If you choose to breastfeed on the road, remember your breastfeeding pillow. This pillow will keep your baby propped up properly in the tighter confines of a car and allow you to stay more comfortable during feeding. Baby will get their feed and you can burp them with ease. The breastfeeding pillow can be used while you are staying overnight and be a nice relaxation aid for your baby and yourself. Take a breastfeeding pillow with you and it will be like taking a piece of home with you.
If your baby is young, take a bassinet along with you. A long road trip generally means you are sleeping somewhere overnight or staying at your destination for a while. This gives baby a safe space to sleep and be comfortable. Whether it is for a nap at a friends or staying overnight, a bassinet is a great place for your newborn to rest.
Hotels can sometimes have cribs. The challenge is they are limited (most hotels only have one or two cribs) and some parents prefer their own bassinet.
Whether this long road trip is overnight or not, it is smart to bring an overnight bag. Last minute surprises happen and you could be stuck staying at a hotel or a friends or family members place overnight. Alternatively, if you have planned an overnight stay on your road trip, an overnight bag for you and your baby will be helpful.
This can include an extra blanket for you, a sleeper for baby, babies wash things to have a bath, toys, pacifier if you use one, formula if you use it, teething rings and a favorite stuffed animal. It is nice for baby to have a few things from home on this long trip.
If your travels include going over an international border, you will need a passport for yourself and your baby. The laws are always changing and it is best to have a passport for your little one if you are going to a different country. A passport takes weeks (and in some countries and their recent delays) months to get, so it is important to have this all sorted out months before you are to go on your road trip. Many stores can do your passport photo. Generally, a baby must be awake for the photo and not crying or laughing. The background must be white.The baby must be facing the camera. Check out your government’s recommendations for a passport photo, passport wait times and more on an official federal government website.
Similarly, check your destination’s requirements for citizens from your country. Your country may have a relationship with your destined country that you may not require a passport. If you are traveling without the child’s other birth parent, you may or may not need a letter from the other parent stating they are aware the child is traveling with you and their contact information. This is not always asked for but it is good to have it rather than not to have it.
Having your child’s birth certificate on a long road trip is important. In case your baby needs medical care, a birth certificate (short form) may serve as appropriate evidence that this is indeed your child. Though it is not necessary in many situations, a birth certificate may suffice when traveling over some international borders. It is best to check before leaving on your trip.
Making sure your child is up to date on vaccinations before you go on a long trip is important. If you are road tripping to a different climate, they may recommend different vaccinations for your child. Similarly, you may feel more comfortable if your child has received their first round of vaccinations. Talk to your doctor about your vacation and together you can come up with a great plan to protect your baby on your road trip.
This is so important to know, it is okay to make stops, take stops and stay for a while. Stops are important for baby to feed, be changed, get a change of scene and most of all, get a few snuggles from you. Stops are important for you as well. It is good to not multitask for a few minutes and be with your baby.
Make sure to stop in safe areas. Try not to stop in places where you are alone. Exercise safety at all times. If you have the time, research some great stops along the way on your road trip.
How Soon Can A Newborn Travel Long Distance By Car
Ideally, when your child is three months old, you can travel with your newborn a long distance by car. Alternatively, this is not always possible for many parents. Speaking to your doctor before a big road trip is best. Along with these great tips, you will be ready to go with your newborn on your latest adventure!