A few suggestions that will make your car journey with a young baby easier.

Things to get in advance of your baby's arrival:

Backseat car mirror

These little mirrors fit on the back seats and allow you to see your baby in their car seat in your rear view mirror. They can be indispensable when you need to check if your little one is OK whilst driving.

It can take a few attempts to get them fixed just right. Fit the mirror before you need to use it and try going out for a short journey to make sure it doesn't move whilst you drive, and that you can easily see your child's face whilst also being able to use your rear view mirror to see cars behind you.

Car seat that sits onto a separate base

Having a car seat base means you can lift the seat off with your baby still asleep and take them into the house. This gives you a few extra minutes peace and avoids an upset baby when you disturb their slumber.

A car seat well in advance of your due date

You will usually need a car seat to take your baby home. Getting your car seat early allows you to practice getting the seat in and out the car, which is not always that easy to start with. It also allows you to ensure you have it ready should your baby turn up sooner than expected.

Going out and about in the car with your baby:

Essentials and spares

It's a good idea to keep a stock of the main essentials such as nappies, wipes, muslin, tissues, kitchen towels, plus a change of clothes or two for your baby in the car. Whatever you expect to use, take at least double, this includes bottles.

It can also be useful to have a change of clothing for yourself in case of milk dribble or sick.

Feed before leaving the house

Even if it is a top up feed, a baby with a full tummy is usually a contented baby. Unless you are going somewhere nearby where it is easy to feed them, a feed before leaving can save hassle and the risk that your baby suddenly decides they want feeding whilst you are driving.

Babies, not best known for patience when an empty tummy is involved, can get upset very quickly which makes driving much more difficult and upsetting.

Layers work well

Cars can be very warm, especially sat in a car seat, so dress them appropriately for the car temperature and consider putting a removable blanket over them.

Babies often fall asleep on a car journey so if they start to get too warm it's not easy to remove surplus clothes without waking them.

Time your journey

Timing can be everything with a young child as babies will usually sleep in the car if they are near a nap time. If you have a journey of an hour or more to make, try setting off just before they would be due for a nap and feed them just before you leave.

A very young child might only sleep for 45 minutes, but if you're lucky they might sleep a bit longer. However, they can often want attention or food as soon as they wake so always plan for a stop.

Planned and unplanned stopping points

You may need to park up to feed, change or cuddle your child. It might be useful to look at your route to see where all the stopping points are in case you need them. If you are driving for a long time it is a good idea to try to stop every two hours or as and when you or your baby needs a break.

If your baby starts to cry mid-journey, stay focused on driving and wait until you find a safe place to pull in. Hard shoulders are for emergencies only and are not safe to stop in.

Allows lots of spare time

You don't want to feel rushed. Most people know that having a young baby means scheduling is difficult so don't feel guilty if you run late. Allow time to get your baby ready to leave the house and for lots of stops on the journey.

Make sure you feel OK

Lack of sleep and constant demand of your time can make driving less pleasant. If you don't feel up for driving, consider postponing the journey.

See also our tips for driving with children here.


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