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Taking a Road Trip with Your Baby

By Elizabeth Pantley, author of Gentle Baby Care

To Grandmother’s house we go! And you’ll be in the car for five whole hours ¾ how can you make the trip enjoyable with a baby along?

Learn about it

There’s no question: Marathon car trips with a baby on board take a good amount of planning and organization. But it can be done ¾ and yes, it can even be fun!

Planning the trip

In the hustle that precedes a trip, it can be easy to let things happen, instead of make things happen. Be proactive in making your trip decisions. Contemplating these questions, and coming up with the right answers, can help make your trip more successful:

Preparing the car

Take plenty of time to get the car ready for your trip. If two adults are traveling, consider yourself lucky and arrange for one person to sit in the backseat next to the baby. If you are traveling alone with your little one, you’ll need to be more creative in setting up the car, and you’ll need to plan for more frequent stops along the way.

Here are a few tips for making the car a traveling entertainment center for your baby:

Car travel checklist

During the journey

If you’ve carefully planned your trip and prepared your vehicle, you’ve already started out on the right foot. Now keep these things in mind as you make your way down the road:

On the way home

You may be so relieved that you lived through your trip that you sort of forget the other trip ahead of you: the trip home. You’ll need to organize the trip home as well as you did the trip out. A few days in advance, make certain that all your supplies are refilled and ready to go. Think about the best time to leave, and plan accordingly. In addition, think about what you learned on the trip to your destination that might make the trip home even easier. Is there something you wish you would have had but didn’t? Something you felt you could have done differently? Did you find yourself saying, "I wish we would have…"? Now’s the time to make any adjustments to your original travel plan so that your trip back home is pleasant and relaxed.

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

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