Advice on a Long Trip with a 5 Month Old Baby by Car

Updated on January 30, 2011
T.D. asks from Syracuse, NY
10 answers


we are moving next month to a different country (from Italy to Germany) and for many reasons the only way we can travel is by car! our baby is 5 month and im wondering if you have suggestions on how to make the trip easier for baby and parents.

its a loooong trip!


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answers from Dallas on

If you can't travel at night try to schedule it at nap times. It won't be as long as you think as long as you have a good car rider.

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answers from Chicago on

We did a 15 hour trip with our twins. First, if you can drive at night you should. The baby will be sleeping, so it won't throw off the schedule. Depending on how long the trip is, you might want to stop half-way and get a hotel room to break it up. But, I highly recommend the night driving. It was a lifesaver for us.



answers from New York on

I noticed that when my kids pooped in a car seat, it oozed out of the top of the diapers, leaving the car seat and entire back of my child a complete mess. We take a 12 hr car trip each summer, so i started layering hand towels under the baby and removing them when it inevitably became dirty. Later I found a water proof pad (maybe by Kiddopotamus?) that sits in the car seat to protect it. I needed several towels each trip, so I would layer them over the waterproof pad. Also, a handy change of clothes for you and lots for your baby. If you're changing baby in the car, it's handy. Also, I have picked baby up too many times to count and found poop or pee all over my shirt. Have plastic bags handy as well.

Stop often, have fun!



answers from Oklahoma City on

Babies get really sore from sitting in the same position for extended hours. Make sure you look for spots on her skin that stay red after she is picked up, this can be a sign she may be starting a pressure sore. I would say stop every couple of hours and take her out of her seat, play with her, do some tummy time, take a blanket and put it out on some grass and let her play on it. Take the time to make the trip less stressful on her. If she is sleeping soundly then you can make the distance up a bit but she really needs the stimulation both mentally and physically every couple of hours when she is awake.



answers from Dallas on

Having taken many trips when my son was that age, I would highly recommend:

- Most IMPORTANT- add several hours to your trip to allow frequent baby stops

- Stopping every 1.5 - 2 hours, get the baby out of the car seat; change diaper, feed, then take about 15 mins to let them out in the fresh air

- Keep diaper rash cream on regardless if they are prone to them or not. ***My son had only had 1 until our car ride from San Diego to Fort Worth. That much time spent in the seat gave him a rash that would bring tears to any mom's eyes. It took over a week to go away and 1 trip to the doctor

- Attach visual aids (safety reasons: make sure it's nothing that could fly in baby's face and would hurt in the event of an accident)

- Turn and talk to baby as much as possible

- Keep on your regular feeding / nap / bedtime schedule

Good luck!



answers from New York on

Make sure you have the car "stocked" and ready for the trip... diapers, wipes, bottles, formula (if you are not nursing), blankets, spare clothes (for both of you), toys, board books and soothing music. You don't want to run-out of easily accessible items and have to either dig through suitcases or stop to purchase.

Also try to do the bulk of the driving at night or during naps, if you can. Truthfully, at this age your little one will probably sleep quite a bit of the drive!

Don't be in a rush. If "mapquest" says that it will take you 4 days, plan on taking a week. If you need to stop and take the baby for a walk, then you don't want to feel like you are "behind" for doing so. Plan your hotel stops along the way and make sure you ask the front desk for family-friendly restaurants.

Be "okay" with the simple fact that you will ALL be off-schedule during the trip and until you are settled in your new home.

For you- have reading materials in the car or movies so that you and hubby can stay awake and engaged!


answers from Los Angeles on

When I traveled with my new born I did it alone. The few times I had my BF with me, or my little cousin it was soooo much better! It's easier when someone can sit next to the baby to feed him/her.
It is easier to drive at night, but thats not always possible. When I drove at night I would bring my babies firsher price fish aquarium and place it to the side of the carseat. That way she had the soothing lights and sounds.
During the day I got a mobile that attaches to the handle of her carseat and she loved it. The only other toys I brought were rattles and her stuffed animals she loved.
I always used aquaphor on my daughters diaper area to prevent diaper rash. I had a jug of watter, bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, snacks (for me and the baby), etc. in the back of the car.
I also always had a duffle bag in the trunk with spare clothes in it, for me and the baby, and an extra blanket. Very rarely did I ever need clothes, but I found even if the baby didn't mess up her clothes she still needed to be changed from daytime weather to night time weather (if the trip is that long).
If it's going to be sunny, you might want to look into finding sun shades that suction cup to your windows.
If you have to change her in the car, get scented diaper bags. Nothing like smelly a poopy diaper for an hour before you find a trash can! If your worried about bottles and/or dishes. They have disposible bottles you can buy. I think I found them at baby depot, but you can also order some from babies r us.
If the link didn't work they are called Steribottle.
Good Luck on your trip!



answers from Madison on

I agree with Melissa,We have twins with older one too & we use the same strategy to drive at night & stay in very comfortable hotel for more than 20 hrs to stretch than we all are fresh to be back on the road.Other wise you are going to be tired too.

Have a safe & sound trip



answers from Chattanooga on

When we moved across the US, I alternated where I sat. (hubby drove...) I would sit up front with him for a couple hours, then after a rest break I would ride in the back with my (then) 6 month DD. It helped her a lot to know that she wasn't just abandoned in the back seat. Also, (pissed me off at the time...) Hubby turned up the music during a period when she was really upset, and we had no place to safely pull over. And it calmed her down! we got to laughing pretty hard, because we would turn it down, she would start crying. Turn it up, she starts babbling. (not LOUD, just up) I made sure to have a bottle for her, since I nurse and sometimes there just is NO WAY to pull over in some areas, so it was nice to have something to give her that would keep her happy until we could get to a safe pull-over spot. Another thing that helped was that I stocked up my phone with music, so I could give the phone to her to play with. (she really likes music, as we discovered on this trip. lol)



answers from Buffalo on

i agree with every post -- you've gotten great advice! i just want to specifically agree with the night driving. We drove with our 3 kids (6 month old twins and 11 year old girl) from NY to Michigan - normally a 5 or 6 hour drive, took us about 7.5 hours... on the way there we had no choice but to drive during the day and it was horrible! Probably didnt help that it was a hot July day and our van's air conditioner was broken. We planned for extra hours, knowing we would take frequent stops (at least every 2 hours).
But on the way home we were able to drive overnight and it was WONDERFUL! The kids all slept virtually the whole way and we didn't need to take near as many stops.
Also - make sure you're over-prepared... bring extras of everything.
Good luck!!

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