As Easter Week is nearly on us, a lot of families are planning to return to their home towns or to go for a vacation to relax and enjoy the good weather, either by the sea or up in the mountains. When traveling with newborn babies in the family certain questions may arise when planning the trip, whether you are going by automobile, plane or some other means of transport. These tips may prove of use when it comes to preparing a trip by automobile with a newborn baby.
What do you need take into account on an automobile trip with a newborn baby?
Automobile trips are most frequent at this time of the year. Doubts arise for a lot of families when it comes to planning them, particularly about the length of the trip and what should be brought to keep babies amused and to ensure they have everything that is needed. You must bear in mind that you can drive with babies from a very early age as long as you adapt them to the distance progressively, making frequent stops to enable the child to explore new surroundings and stay relaxed.
Babies must travel with a child restraint system suited to their physical characteristics. They must be properly fastened in and travel in the rear seats of the automobile. If possible babies should be accompanied by an adult to keep them amused, to play or simply to make sure everything is all right when they are seated in the opposite direction to that in which the vehicle is going. This is the most recommended seated position as long as it can be achieved comfortably, even for children of up to two or three years of age. We recommend you consult the following infographic: ‘Types of automobile safety seats for children’.
You must plan your route so that you can make frequent stops, normally every hour and a half or two hours at most. However, for very small babies, or if they look to be uncomfortable or become inconsolable during the trip, you must stop and attend to them. Every time you stop at a suitable place, you must take babies out of their seats to enable them to move freely. When babies are very young or newborn you can attend to them and take the opportunity to feed and clean them. The most important thing is for babies to be able to stretch and breathe in fresh air, not to mention affording them a chance to be amused a little and to stick to their feeding and cleaning routine.
Keeping a good temperature in the automobile is very important for babies. Ideally it should be neither too hot nor too cold so that the baby can travel comfortably in this sense. Air conditioning can be used, but cautiously as the stream of air must not fall directly on the baby. It is advisable to fit sunshades to the side windows to protect the baby. Moreover, babies must not be dressed with too much clothing. Even though it may be cold outside, children should not travel in safety seats with their coats on.
It goes without saying that babies must never be left alone inside automobiles (video). If babies sleep when traveling you must check every now and again that they are not too hot (if they are perspiring, for example) or if their hands are cold, as these are symptoms to suggest that you must adjust the temperature or stop to rest, get some fresh air or wrap up some more.
You must bring those things required to keep babies comfortable
One of the most frequent questions is what to bring for the baby. We can easily go overboard on this. But there are a series of products and accessories that must not be forgotten to ensure newborn babies have everything they need to meet their needs on the trip:
- Extra diapers, a changing table, baby swipes and, in general, everything you need to change and clean the baby.
- A complete change (ready to hand, we do not mean the suitcase content), and a coat should the baby get cold. This makes sense in spring and summer also, even though it seems more natural in fall and winter.
- Bottled water, eating utensils and whatever is needed to prepare the baby food wherever you are.
- Suitable toys for the trip: soft, light and without sharp edges, such as textile books, soft rattles and rag dolls, etc. You can also bring along some baby songs to keep them amused.
‘Zero Accident Goal’ this Easter Week
Do not forget these tips to make your automobile trip safer this Easter:
- Observe traffic regulations, particularly speed limits and wear a seat belt.
- Children must always travel with a properly fitted child restraint system, the belts of which must be fastened.
- Respect cyclists and fellow automobile drivers and keep the minimum 1.5 safety distance when overtaking them.
- Avoid distractions. Do not use the smartphone while driving and program the GPS before starting out. You can download the DRIVEMESAFE app on Google Play.
- Rest frequently, at least every two hours or 200 km. If you are traveling with babies or newborns, stop as often as they need.
- Have your car serviced at a specialized auto repair and service garage to ensure it is in perfect condition. Do not forget to check the spare tire or puncture repair kit.
- Keep the safety distance.
- Do not take too much baggage and arrange it properly. ‘Road Safety for the Elderly’ contains tips on how to arrange baggage on long trips.
- Zero alcohol and drugs at the wheel.