If you love traveling, having a baby shouldn’t stop you from doing the things you enjoy. In fact, it’s a beautiful way to raise a child and create some memories she’ll remember forever. But, how soon can a newborn travel long-distance by car? Is your little ray of sun ready for the first road trip?
We get it, if you’re used to traveling, we assume you’re super excited to leave your home and get to exploring again. Having a newborn means you probably don’t do that very often, but now you have a new travel buddy for life!
Yes, it makes traveling a lot more different, but it’s a beautiful experience both for parents and their baby. However, no matter how excited you are to explore the world with your little one, you shouldn’t rush into it. For first-time parents, this can be pretty overwhelming, which is completely normal!
Don’t stress about it and take it slow – it’s logical that you’re worried about your baby’s well-being. After all, your house is a perfect little cocoon of safety. But, still, you probably can’t wait to start your life with your baby, so you’re at your wits’ end thinking about what’s the right thing to do.
Together, we’ll explore how soon can a newborn travel long-distance by car, as well as how you can best prepare for your baby’s first trip. Let’s start!
How soon can a newborn travel long-distance by car?
If you can’t wait to go back to exploring the world, or you simply have family that lives far away that you’d like to visit, it’s normal to wonder how soon can a newborn travel long-distance by car. After all, you have a new travel buddy that needs extra care, so you have to make sure she’s safe before you start your journey.
The good news is – there is no law that determines how old your little one should be before you travel with her. That doesn’t mean you should head off to the new country without knowing how to prepare your newborn for the road.
According to some experts, newborns shouldn’t spend longer than 30 minutes in their car seats.
If you’re using the proper infant car seat and plan your trip so that you make stops every 30 minutes, you should be good to go! Of course, we still recommend you talk to your doctor, as they’ll give you the best advice, especially if your baby requires some special care.
Traveling on your own and traveling with a newborn are two completely different stories, so be ready to pack a lot more than what you’re used to. You’ll have to think about every possible scenario… To make it at least a bit less overwhelming, we’ll go through some things you’ll need, together.
What you need when traveling long distances with your newborn
So, how soon can a newborn travel long-distance by car depends solely on how ready you are to embark on this journey with your little one. Planning your baby’s first road trip can be challenging, but also pretty exciting!
Of course, it can get pretty overwhelming thinking about every possible scenario and all the things you might need. We recommend making a list, so you can keep it on paper rather than running through your mind.
Think about what your baby needs every day, and what are some things she’ll need if anything goes wrong. Her safety comes first, so don’t hesitate to pack more than what you’ve planned.
Without further ado, let’s go through some of the must-haves when traveling with a newborn, so you can make your list and prepare for your baby’s first-ever road trip!
1. A car seat is a must
Of course, although this one is pretty logical, it’s still the most important thing you need. No matter how long your trip is, your newborn needs an infant car seat. It should be rear-facing and properly installed before you start her first big trip.
Make sure you’re not using a car seat that’s past its expiry date, as it could have a negative impact on your little one’s security. On top of that, you should never use a car seat that has gone through a car accident, even if you think it wasn’t affected by it. Your baby needs the highest level of safety.
One great idea would be to get a car seat mirror. Since your baby will be facing the seat, a mirror will help you keep an eye on her at all times. You’ll be able to tell when your baby is starting to feel fussy and it’s time to make a quick break, or when she’s asleep and you can continue your trip.
2. Health card and birth certificate
If you’re living outside of the USA, make sure you bring your baby’s health card with you. That way you won’t have to worry about your baby getting sick and you not being able to get her the help she might need.
If you live in America, don’t go traveling before you make sure your baby has proper insurance and that she’s registered under your plan. On top of that, you should always have her birth certificate with you, in case she needs any medical care and you need evidence that you’re her parent.
3. Sunshade for her window
Since your baby will be close to the window, you’ll need to protect her from direct sunlight. Some babies get fussy when the sun is hitting their face directly, so a translucent black shade for the window is always a good idea.
It doesn’t take too long to install and it’s usually pretty inexpensive, yet it will make your baby a lot more comfortable during a long-distance journey. It’s easy to adjust, and it will help your little one sleep better.
4. Bringing stored milk is a good idea
Whether you’re breastfeeding or using formula, it’s always a good idea to store some milk for the trip, just in case. Keep it in a bottle cooler to maintain the right temperature, and you won’t have to worry about your baby being hungry when traveling.
Of course, you can always try breastfeeding in the car, but that’s not the most comfortable place to do that. If you decide to do so, however, make sure you make a stop and then feed your little one. No matter what – you should never take your baby out of the car seat during the ride.
5. Bring her bassinet if you’re going to sleep overnight
We’ll assume your baby is really young. Because of that, we recommend you bring your little one’s bassinet so she can sleep in it.
Whether you’re sleeping somewhere overnight or you plan on staying at a place for a while, this will be really handy. Your little bub will always have a place where she can sleep safely and peacefully, no matter where you are!
Although some hotels offer cribs, a lot of parents refuse to use them, and we understand why. Using a crib that was previously used by people you don’t know doesn’t sound appealing to us, either. Bringing your own bassinet will be a perfect solution, and both your baby and you will sleep better at night.
Some things to consider
Okay, we’ve gone through some things you’ll need when traveling long-distance with your newborn, but we’re far from done yet. For example, if you’re traveling to a different state, make sure you do your research regarding their car seat laws.
Some states have laws that require specific types of car seats or have different requirements when it comes to their position in the vehicle. Don’t forget to think about what kind of car you have and what are the best and safest ways to install your little one’s seat properly.
When traveling, you have to consider the weather conditions and dress your baby accordingly. To avoid your little one feeling too hot during the summer, make sure you dress her lightly. During winter, make sure she’s warm enough, especially when it’s time to take a break outside.
As we’ve already mentioned, you need to think about every possible scenario – including the one where your bub gets sick. For longer stays, we recommend you find a pediatrician there before you arrive, just in case. That way, if there’s ever a need for it, your baby will get proper medical care in time.
Since your baby sleeps during the night, we recommend that’s when you plan your trip. Traveling by night will ensure your baby is asleep throughout most of the ride, which will make the whole experience a lot easier for everyone.
Finally, don’t forget to have all the necessary supplies you need for your baby. Keep a diaper bag and wipes close, and a blanket on which you can put your baby when it’s time to change her diapers. When she’s out of her seat, take that as an opportunity to wipe it clean before placing her back in.
We wish you and your little one a great trip! Fingers crossed you make a ton of memories together.
Read more: Baby Swallowed Bath Water: Should You Panic?