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There’s no better way to answer the call of summer than with a road trip. A time-honoured Australian tradition, new or expecting parents may feel apprehensive about taking their little one with them to hit the wide open road. After all, it’s not easy to keep a bub comfortable and happy for hours on end, especially when restricted to the confines of a car.
Thankfully, there are several ways you can prepare your baby for their first road trip. We’ve asked several experts to share their best tips for a road trip.
“If your baby is on medication, always take medications that may not be available at your travel destination, particularly children’s Panadol or Nurofen – if it’s tried and tested at home, it’s always better to take it from home, rather than risk trying something different while away.
Check with your GP if you will need written approval to take certain prescription drugs when travelling internationally. It’s always better to prepared and have documentation if needed. Don’t forget to make copies of these letters and carry a copy with you and another in your baggage which has been “checked-in”.
Insect repellent is always handy – look for “kids” variety as this caters for sensitive, younger skin. If you are concerned about the sensitivity of the product on your child’s skin, spray a fine mist on your child’s clothing.
When on long driving trips put in the backseat with the kids, a few plastic bags, buckets and wet washcloth (in its own bag) and towels. If you’re prepared, it’ll make the situation less traumatic for everyone.
Save important phone numbers in your mobile. Around Australia, the phone number for the Poisons Information Centre is, 13 11 26 and Health Direct is, 1800 022 222. These numbers are available for information and advice on any health concern 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Internationally, phone 112 on your mobile and this will connect you to the emergency services of the country you are travelling.”
“Many bubs love a quick car ride, however a long-haul road trip can prove especially challenging the first time.
While bub may initially fall asleep thanks to the gentle vibrations of the car, it’s important to remember they will not sleep the entire time.
The best way to keep bub happy on a long-distance trip is to pack toys that both soothe and stimulate. An interactive toy is crucial to a baby’s development and is sure to keep them entertained during a long trip – not to mention tiring them out for another nap!
Fisher-Price’s Musical Clacker Keys are perfect for car trips, the brightly coloured keys include a teether, clackers, lots of textures and an interactive fob for bub to press for fun sounds and music.
They also feature a peg that allows for easy attachment to baby seat straps to reduce the chance of your child throwing the toy away.
Soothing is always easier if bubba has the same comforter wherever they fall asleep and Fisher-Price’s Calming Vibrations Elephant Soother is perfect for at home and on the go. This cuddly elephant relaxes baby with calming music, soft humming and gentle vibrations.”
“As family travel bloggers, we have enjoyed (and sometimes not enjoyed) quite a few road trips with our youngest daughter. Avalee is not the biggest fan of cars, so it is important for us to have some strategies up our sleeve when we tackle a drive for longer than an hour.
Except for having snacks and her favourite toys on hand; our biggest tip is to have baby music in the car. I know it can be challenging to listen to as an adult, but honestly, as soon as the whingeing starts, switch off your choice of music and pop on a few nursery rhyme songs and notice how it can help change the mood in a car.”
“First, it’s important to realize that you will, in all likelihood, need to stop along the way for feedings, diaper changes, and so on. We try to avoid driving for more than five hours in a day, and make sure there is room in the car for one of us to sit next to her for part of the time (for bottle feedings, etc.).
We make sure that she has a variety of toys to play with to keep her entertained, and we also try to talk to her during that time as well. As far as packing goes, we bring enough diapers and wipes to cover us for a week (this might change if we start traveling to destinations without convenient Targets/grocery stores), and we pack two outfits per day, one short-sleeved and one long-sleeved.
This allows us to prepare for potential diaper leaks, as well as change in temperature. We have a spare set of bottle-washing tools we bring with us, and we bring a ziploc bag full of pacifiers, just in case.”
A big thank you to our experts for sharing their wisdom! Now that you’re equipped for your baby’s first road trip there’s one more thing you need to do; enjoy yourself! If you don’t have a destination in mind yet check out our top picks for baby-friendly holiday destinations and embrace the call of adventure with your family this summer.