How to travel safely in a car with your baby

New parents are often wondering when to schedule trips with their baby and what to do if he or she cries non-stop? Get tips for a safe and serene ride from an experienced parenting instructor.

 Baby sleeps in car (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Baby sleeps in car
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Traveling in a car with a baby can be a stressful experience. Even for a short drive, many parents worry what might happen if the baby cries or wants something while on the highway, what if the pacifier falls out, etc. 

Shiron Alter, who instructs parents about developmental guidelines and is a sleep trainer, offers a number of tools that will alleviate some worries and allow you to go on a safe, tranquil trip with your baby.

Timing is (almost) everything

When should you travel with the baby? If your baby is one who falls asleep in the car, schedule the trip near nap time. If not, do the exact opposite, that is, don’t go for a ride when the baby is too tired. In both cases, make sure that the baby is calm and relaxed, has been fed and of course, has a clean, dry diaper. 

Prep for travel

In the summer, when parked cars get very hot, it’s advisable to turn on the air conditioner in the car before putting the baby in, so wait inside your home or outside in the shade for several minutes. Remember that the safety straps and buckles can be broiling and might hurt the baby, so be sure that they’re cool to the touch. If it’s a very cold day, turn on the heating for a few minutes, then strap in the baby.

Handling crying while driving

To maintain safety, be sure to stay relaxed and calm, and don’t get hysterical even if the baby's crying gets stronger. Practice deep breathing, talk to the baby or try to make a monotonous and calm sound like cooing that will also calm you down. The baby will feel that you’re calm, and he or she might be placated. Another tip is to play a song (rhythmic or gentle, whichever works) that will stop the crying for a bit. If the baby keeps crying, pull over in a safe place, calm the baby down and give a pacifier or food, and a hug. When the baby is ok, strap in and resume driving. 

In summer, be careful in the heat

If it’s hot in the car, the baby will also feel the heat. Turn up the air conditioner and provide shade for the car window that is next to the car seat, which slightly reduces the intensity of the heat and will also protect the baby's delicate skin from radiation.

(Credit: Ingimage)(Credit: Ingimage)
Accessories and games

There are some accessories that can help you in your goal to travel and arrive safely with a calm baby. Purchase a mirror that can be placed on a baby's car seat and talk with them. And, buy a small plush toy to attach to the seat which the baby can play with, as well as rattles and teething rings. But keep in mind that the baby will drop them and then you’ll need to stop on the side when the baby protests and pick them up.