Many parents fear that a longer car journey with an infant may turn out to be a real challenge. Actually, trips with older children are sometimes more difficult, as they can communicate very firmly and very loudly when they start to feel bored. Traveling with a baby who’s only a few months old can be calm and pleasant, you only need to plan it well – and remember about regular breaks.
According to paediatricians and physiotherapists, newborns can spend up to 2 hours in a car seat at one time. Why? The design of the seats forces such little humans to assume a specific, reclining position. The aim is, of course, to ensure the highest possible level of safety in the event of a collision or sudden braking – after all, this is what the seats are designed for. However, it cannot be denied that the healthiest and most advantageous position for a newborn is a flat lying position, which gives them unhindered freedom of movement. Unfortunately – during any road incident it is not a safe position and this is where the need to take breaks in the journey comes from.
When planning to stop, it is best not to follow the strict indications of the clock, but the natural rhythm of sleeping, feeding and changing the baby. Thanks to this, the journey will be significantly more peaceful and less stressful for parents – the next stages of the road will be covered simply during the baby’s sleep. Most often, it is recommended that the 2 hours of riding be alternated with 20-minute breaks, but the specific values will be different for each child. One will wake up every 1.5 hours, the other will sleep 2 times as much. It’s important to note that if the child is sleeping during a stopover, it is not worth waking them up – it is better to drive another part of the road.
Before a longer journey with a baby in the car, it is worth consulting a paediatrician who will assess whether there are any contraindications when it comes to travelling. They will also advise you on what medications to take on a trip, just in case. Before driving off, get your car ready: replace windscreen washer fluid with an odourless one and dispose of strong air fresheners. Also let some fresh air into the interior just before the trip (and do this at each stop). To prevent the sun from dazzling your child while driving, attach special, safe sunshades to the rear windows. Also pay attention to the air conditioning – the airflow should not be too strong or directed at the child.
Remember to pack a hand luggage that you will have with you in the car – necessarily in the cabin, not in the trunk. It should contain all the basic things you use every day. And most of all – don’t worry too much in advance! Traveling with a child can be a great adventure. It is enough to accept the fact that it is the smallest passenger who dictates the conditions of departure and that not everything will always go according to the plan :).