So how soon can you travel with a newborn by car?
How can you make it so that the travel is comfortable and not stressful?
How long can you travel with a newborn in a car seat?
These are all questions you probably have after adding a new addition to your family, so today I want to put your mind at ease.
Well by the end of this post, you will be armed for the best road trip with your new bub that you can have! Traveling with a newborn is easy with these tips…
Travel Must-Know Points When Travelling With A Newborn
Traveling with a newborn can feel daunting. It can seem like a complicated feat in those early days. With some good advice and a little practice traveling with your new family member doesn’t have to feel daunting at all.
Always remember that practice makes perfect so the first few times may be easy or they may not, as long as you keep doing it then you are winning!
Sometimes for reassurance those first few times, you might ask yourself, should I sit in the back with my newborn?
Well, you absolutely can but you don’t have to. What you choose to do will depend on what you are comfortable with.
How soon you can travel with a newborn by car depends totally on what you feel ready for!
Baby mirrors that are fitted to the seat head above their car seat can help offer a good look at your baby and means you can safely check them when traveling alone.
Never hesitate to ask more experienced people for advice. Your GP or Plunket nurse if you have one can also help.
Don’t worry in no time you will wonder why you ever worried about traveling with your new baby!
The Trip Home
When traveling home with a newborn, there are several must-dos to ensure a safe and comfortable journey.
First, make sure to have a properly installed car seat for your baby. It is also important to pack enough diapers, wipes, and extra clothing in case of any accidents.
Additionally, bring along any necessary feeding supplies, such as bottles and formula or a breastfeeding cover.
It is recommended to schedule frequent stops to allow for diaper changes, feedings, and stretching for both you and the baby.
Lastly, ensure that the car is at a comfortable temperature and that the baby is securely fastened in their car seat before beginning the journey home.
With a tiny newborn, you must be aware of the fact their airway is easily compromised in a sitting position.
Making sure you take breaks if you have a long ride home is important. If your baby tells you they need a break then take a break.
The first few car rides with my daughter felt stressful, but within a car trip I felt happier to travel and within a few months, I don’t think about it twice.
How soon can you travel with the newborn by car? Well as soon as they send you home from the hospital I guess…
Understanding The Best Sleep Position For Babies
The best sleep position for a baby is always lying down, flat on their back. This position ensures their soft neck and airways are not compromised.
Car trips in a sitting position in their car seat can pose a risk if you don’t take regular breaks. We know that oxygen deprivation is bad in any situation but there is not a lot of research on the damage done specifically by long trips in a car seat as a tiny squishy baby.
Prevention is better than cure so if you HAVE to travel in the first 4 weeks of your baby’s life further than an hour, it is really important to factor in stops to feed, change and let your baby lie down.
One thing I did for my piece of mind, even though we had a mirror. I sat in the back seat with our daughter on the way home from the hospital just to keep an eye on her.
As your baby begins to find strength in their head and neck the time you can travel for in one stint will increase.
General Rule For Length In The Car Seat
The most general rule you can find is babies should not be in their car seats for longer than two hours.
There is no published evidence around it, so ensuring you are checking your baby and reading their cues is very important.
Getting your baby out for regular breaks has many benefits.
- Allows them to stretch if they are older babies
- Allows newborns to lie on their backs for a while
- This means you can change your baby to make sure they are comfortable
- Allows you to feed them
Nothing worse than being hungry! Make sure you keep your bub well fed for a better chance of them sleeping during your car trip.
With a very very young baby even stopping every hour could be more beneficial than every 2 hours.
Newborn Car Seats
Newborn car seats are a whole thing. If ya get what I mean. It can be so daunting to choose a care seat that is right for you and your baby! Some of the most important points are:
- The seat should have a five-point harness system to ensure the baby is securely fastened
- A recline angle indicator is another important feature to ensure your baby’s head and neck are supported and in the correct position
- Side impact protection will protect your baby’s head and neck in a crash
- Easy to fasten and tighten is another great feature to look for
- A removable, washable cover
- Plus a newborn insert helps your car seat last longer
- Plus your car seat should be up to all safety standards and in date!
- Make sure your seat is also compatible with your car and not too hard to install
Always do your research on your car seat and take a look at reviews, if you are unsure talk to your local baby support. In NZ that is generally Plunket.
How soon can you travel with a newborn by car? As soon as you have an approved safety seat!
Resting/Stops Are Vital
Taking rests/stops when traveling with your newborn by car is essential. Stops allow you to change your baby, and feed them to keep them comfortable.
On top of this, you can allow them to lie down for a little to take the stress off their airways, which as we have talked about previously is very important so as not to limit oxygen to the brain.
A great idea is for you to plan your stops! If you know your husband always needs to pee an hour in, plan a stop with your baby, maybe even somewhere where there is food nearby.
By having stops planned you can add the time into your trip that you will need to feed and change your baby, this allows you to take the stress away by ensuring you have a proper idea of your timing!
Most maps allow you to add in stops in your journey and that can be important for timing when you will arrive as well as taking the pressure off with unrealistic travel times.
Never Hold Your Baby In The Car
No matter what anyone tells you. Never hold your baby in the car.
It is never safe to hold a baby on your lap while traveling in a car. Doing so can cause serious injury or death in the event of an accident.
We all like to think we will never crash, and 100% I hope it never happens to anyone. But the reality is in one year in ONLY New Zealand; there were 278 fatal crashes and 8600 crashes where people were injured.
Keep these numbers in mind if it ever crosses your mind to travel without your baby in a safe car seat.
You always want to maximize the chances of keeping your precious family member safe.
It is important to always use a properly installed car seat or infant carrier to ensure the safety of your child while on the road.
Do your research or talk to anyone possible who can provide you with up-to-date reliable information on the best possible car seat for your baby and car.
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Best Tips For Travelling With A 1-2 Month Old
Traveling with a 1-2-month-old can feel stressful, to begin with. Just remember in no time you will be a total pro at it!
Always remember taking regular stops will make traveling a lot safer and more enjoyable for your young bub.
Make sure you pack everything you need in advance this will take the stress out of any traveling you do with your young one!
White Noise/ Relaxing Music
White noise has been found to have several benefits for newborns.
Firstly, it can help soothe them and create a calming environment, which can aid in sleep and reduce stress.
Additionally, white noise can mimic the sounds heard in the womb, providing a sense of familiarity for the baby. This can help them feel more secure and comfortable.
Finally, white noise can also help drown out other noises in the environment, such as household sounds or outside traffic, which can be disruptive to a newborn’s sleep.
Overall, incorporating white noise into a newborn’s travel time can have numerous benefits for both the baby and the parents.
Trust me what noise was our savior in the beginning? We used it every car ride and it worked a charm. We find even now our babies’ automatic reaction is to sleep, almost every time!
Shade On The Window Or The Capsule
Another great idea is having a shade over your capsule or on your window to ensure you keep your baby’s eyes shaded.
Babies have a lot less tolerance with their little eyes than us, I am yet to hear of a baby yet who loves the sun in their face or eyes.
A window shade can help to block out the sun and prevent harmful UV rays from entering the car.
It can also provide a darker environment for the baby to sleep in, which can be beneficial for not only their development but can make traveling a whole lot easier.
Additionally, a window shade can help to regulate the temperature inside the car, keeping the baby cool and comfortable.
Overall, using a window shade in the car for your newborn is a simple and effective way to make traveling easier for you and your baby.
Put Them In After A Good Feed
Ever heard the term ‘milk drunk’?
Well, a milk-drunk baby can be one of the most useful things ever when it comes to traveling.
In the early days we planned lots of our trips around my daughter’s feeds and when she would snooze to ensure, 1- she slept in the car, 2- she was snoozy when we started and developed an association of sleep with the car.
Feeding your newborn before traveling does help them sleep. The combined noise and motion of the car can be very soothing.
This can help ensure a more peaceful journey for both you and your baby. Providing nourishment before the trip can also help prevent hunger-related fussiness during the journey, ensuring you can travel for your full 1-2 hours before taking a break to feed.
Travel During Times Where Your Baby Naps
In the early days of traveling with a baby correlating nap times with travel times can help develop a very good routine.
This means later on you will find even your older babies may sleep in the car! If your baby is having regular nap times then making sure you travel in those times encourages them to sleep during that time too.
Added to the motion a snoozy baby who has a full tummy is very likely to sleep in the car.
Sitting In The Back
Some babies are very reliant on their parents for feeling safe. This is normal and shouldn’t be something to find stressful.
Ignore anyone who tells you that sitting in the back with them will mean you will have to their whole life. It simply isn’t true.
Sitting in the back to help hold your babies dummy in, or show them some bright colored books, or singing to them is ok.
Even in the early days of our daughter just touching her appeared to help her feel safe and she would happily go back to sleep.
How Long Can You Have Them In Their Car Seat
The younger your baby the less time they can spend in their car seat.
Babies at 1-2 months have little to no head control and this is key to remember when safely traveling with your baby.
You can travel solidly with a 1-2-month-old for 1-2 hours. The younger they are the less I would personally travel with them.
There are great resources around, make sure to educate yourself.
Baby Safe LTD has some good resources.
It is said that a newborn should be in a car seat for no more than 2 hours within 24 hours.
Taking regular breaks will ensure that there is less chance of your baby waking up distressed.
The important thing to consider is damage to obstruction of the airways can cause serious damage to the brain due to lack of oxygen.
It is not known exactly how bad but always plan stops for your trip.
Best Tips For Travelling With A 3-4 Month Old
Traveling with a 3-4-month-old can be very different as they have matured a little have better head control and may even be enjoying their toys now!
To Use A Window Shade Or To Not?
So you’ve got past asking how soon can you travel with a newborn by car but now you asking… should we have a window shade.
Window shades can be looked at from both ways. Most babies hate the sun in their eyes just like we do, but if your baby is easily stimulated visually they may love looking out at goings by!
So choosing a window shield that can easily be added or removed can be very helpful.
Once you figure out their bub and what they react to you will be able to make better-informed choices on what they will be the happiest with!
Toys And Books
At 3-4 months of age, you might find your baby starting to become very interested in the colors on their books, their toys, and other objects that make them naturally curious.
Having a stash of these items specifically for the car means that they will always have toys to entertain them should they not like to sleep in the car!
Link-on loops are a great one when it comes to toys for the car as they7 ensure your baby can’t throw their toys away and cause a distraction.
Toys and books are great entertainers in the early days. As I sit here typing away my daughter at 4 1/2 months old is crinkling her book next to me.
Another blessing in our lives is our car mirror. Not only was it perfect for a piece of mind in the early days but it allows our girl to now look at herself and chat away.
As your baby begins to recognize faces and people as really exciting enjoyable things, chatting to themselves in a mirror can become quite a regular occurrence.
Anything that will keep your baby amused on the car ride is always a blessing.
Plus it adds the important safety feature of being able to check on your baby without turning your head around!
It allows you to set it up on the head of the chair your baby’s car seat is in and you can see it from your rearview mirror. No turning required!
Again A Feed Is Always A Good Idea
Yet again a full baby is a sleepy baby. so giving your baby a really good feed before traveling is always a priority.
Feeding encourages sleeping which trust me encourages a stress-free driving environment. At this stage, you will know whether your baby enjoys sleeping in the car or not.
Feeding will help by continually encouraging your baby to sleep!
Have A Blanket Handy
Having a blanket handy is vital when you are traveling in the car for two main reasons!]\
The temperature in the car can fluctuate and you may not always have time to get the car running and get it to an ideal temp.
This means using a blanket can help keep your baby warm when this happens! It is also important to consider a wool blanket will be useful.
Wool is a natural fiber with plenty of benefits. It keeps baby toasty warm but won’t cook them if the temperature heats up in the car.
Another thing to consider is if your baby falls asleep and it is very warm you will be able to remove a blanket without waking them… touch wood.
When considering how soon can you travel with a newborn by car you should consider all the things you will need for an easy drive.
This is different from removing a jersey or jacket from your baby and can help let your baby continue to sleep.
Plus you can sit your baby on the blanket when you take the necessary breaks!
How Long Can They Be In Their Car Seat?
It is still recommended that your baby is not in their car seat for any longer than two hours give or take.
A 4-month-old baby should not be in their car seat for more than 2 hours at a time. Prolonged periods in a car seat can lead to breathing difficulties, poor oxygenation, and even positional asphyxia.
It is important to take frequent breaks during car rides to allow the baby to stretch and move around. Even as your baby begins to control their head more!
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How To Take A Long Trip In The Car With A Newborn
A long trip with a newborn may feel daunting but for many reasons can be necessary. Whether you live far away from the hospital or need to visit family.
A long trip can be done as stress-free as possible if you are prepared.
How soon you can travel with a newborn by car will always depend on if you are prepared.
Know How Long You Can Leave Your Baby In Their Seat
It is crucial to learn the appropriate amount of time to leave your baby in their car seat. This is because prolonged periods in a car seat can lead to breathing difficulties, especially for newborns and infants.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies should not be in a car seat for more than two hours at a time. Knowing this means traveling can be safe and stress-free.
For new parents that is a super important blessing.
It is also important to ensure that the car seat is properly installed and adjusted to fit your baby’s size and weight. Always prioritize your baby’s safety and well-being when traveling in a car.
Plan Around Those Times
Planning around the amount of time that your baby can be in their car seat is important.
Generally, babies will wake when the car stops so planning on toilet/food and feeding/changing breaks in advance can make things run a whole lot smoother.
By planning stops in your trip you eliminate any risk of harm to your baby as well as ensure they have a full tummy and a clean dry bum.
This will help them sleep longer.
Bring A Mat
A mat or blanket will be a lifesaver. It is only possible to carry so many things at once. So being able to put your baby down on something safe and comfy is key!
Blankets and mats mean you can also have a rest if you decided to have say a picnic lunch… (sleep deprivation provided).
The other key thing about a mat is it stops possible rashes from grass or scrapes and bumps from dirt and stones.
Eliminating a bit of risk of injury/aggravation will make your life a lot easier.
Having A Blanket
Yet again having a blanket for warmth during a long car ride is important. Babies’ thermoregulatory systems are not as good as ours.
This means a blanket can help them settle better as they aren’t battling to keep warm.
Plus feeling cozy may encourage them to sleep. Always use a mirror in your car to ensure your baby doesn’t end up with their blanket over their face, which poses a SIDS risk.
Why A Perfectly Packed Nappy Bag Is Key
Traveling with a baby can be stressful, but a perfectly packed nappy bag can make all the difference.
By ensuring that all the essentials are included, such as diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, and snacks, parents can feel more prepared and confident while on the go.
Additionally, packing items like a portable changing mat and hand sanitizer can help make diaper changes more convenient and hygienic. Overall, taking the time to pack a well-stocked nappy bag can help eliminate some of the stress associated with traveling with a baby.
- change mat
- spare wipes
- nappy bags (good for everything)
- bum cream
Plan In Food Or Toilet Stops With Your Babies Stops
How soon can you travel with a newborn by car will depend on the things you do to make the experience stress-free.
Like we said above planning food and toilet stops with feeding and changing your baby will save you lots of things:
Always make a pre-plan or at least have an idea of good places to stop within your two-hour time frame!
Always Count On Being Late…
Traveling with a baby can be a challenging experience, especially when it comes to punctuality. It’s important to always factor in extra time for unexpected delays such as diaper changes, feedings, and fussy moments.
In my experience, it’s best to plan and leave plenty of time to ensure a stress-free journey. Plus let anyone you may be meeting know you are not reliably on time currently due to your baby keeping you busy.
If they mind… they don’t matter.
So How Soon Can You Travel With A Newborn By Car
Traveling with a newborn isn’t a super easy thing, although if you are lucky enough your baby will enjoy the car and sleep!
So how soon can you travel with a newborn by car?
In this post, we have talked about so many useful and actionable strategies that can help in making your car trips far less stressful.
How soon can you travel by car with a newborn will also depend on the birth you had! Don’t forget to take it easy in the early days.
Ensuring you make regular stops is important, as keeping your baby well-fed and nice and dry. That is the key, to keep your baby comfortable.