Q: We are taking a road trip with our 6 month-old this summer and I’m worried that with his constant need to feed and be held, the car ride will be disasterous. Any tips for making this an easy and enjoyable experience? Any way to get prepared?
A: Here are a few tips for making the car a traveling entertainment center for your baby:
♣ Use ribbon or yarn and tape to hang an array of lightweight toys from the ceiling of the car to hang over your baby. An alternative is to string a line from one side of the car to the other with ribbons. Bring along an assortment of new toys that can be exchanged when you stop the car. Just be sure to use soft toys and keep them out of the driver’s line of view.
♣ Tape brightly colored pictures of toys on the back of the seat that your baby will be facing. Bring new photos to rotate.
♣ If no one will be sitting next to your baby and your child is old enough to reach for toys, set up an upside-down box next to the car seat with a shallow box or a tray with ledges taped on top of it. Fill this with toys that your baby can reach for by himself. Or shop around for a baby activity center that attaches directly to the carseat, and exhange new toys along the way.
♣ If you plan to have someone sitting next to baby, check your library’s early reading section; it typically features a large collection of baby-pleasing titles in paperback that are easier to tote along than board books. Also look into lift the flap or other interactive books.
♣ Bring along an assortment of safe snacks and drinks for your older baby who’s regularly eating solids, and remember to bring food for yourself, too. Even if you plan to stop for meals, you may decide to drive on through if your baby is sleeping or content saving the stops for fussy times.
♣ Bring adult books on tape or quiet music for the times when your baby is sleeping. The voice on tape may help keep your baby relaxed, and it will be something you can enjoy.
♣ If you’ll be traveling in the dark, bring along a battery-operated nightlight or flashlight.