The upcoming summer holidays let us think we can finally take it easy. If these holidays are your first car trip with a child, perhaps even an infant, it’s best to plan ahead. Otherwise, you may experience hours of stress instead of dreaming of what you will finally do during your free time.
Even if husbands always think wives who make lists of what to pack “crazy”, this is actually a good habit that will help you to understand what you really need and how to manage space. You don’t need to take too much with you, think hard of what you really need or you may be leaving for your holidays in a car that looks more like a lorry. Furthermore, travelling with a child should focus your attention on how to organise the luggage. Don’t resort to filling the passenger seats with bags: keeping objects on the dash, for example, could be very dangerous”
Think about those distractions that can help keep the child amused during the trip: music, games, books…Even an older brother or sister could help you out! Involve them to help you make the time your youngster spends in the car more enjoyable, explaining how to calm them down with words and gestures.
If your child is an infant, you could make a CD with relaxing music and songs you could sing to him or her. Also remember to bring his or her favourite stuffed toy or something to distract them. Sometimes it doesn’t take much, just a colourful toy that makes noise. For elder children, involve them by playing games with the cars you pass on the highway. You could count all those of the same colour: the first to find ten wins; or you could see who guesses the make and model of the cars that pass the fastest.
During the trip: the child in the car seat, not in mum’s arms.
Your child may be one of the many who don’t like to be buckled into the stroller or car seat. Cries from the back seat, even on short trips, are so loud that just the thought of a few hours in the car scares you. Don’t worry! Crying does not always mean that the child is hurt. Sometimes it just means they’re unhappy. Therefore, if you know nothing is wrong and that crying just means they don’t like the car seat and safety belts, keep going and don’t give in. They’ll calm down sooner or later. If an extra stop can help during the trip, plan it along the road before leaving.
However, don’t give in: never hold the child in your arms, this could be dangerous! Always keep the child buckled in the seat, better if an Isofix seat, the maximum car safety currently available on the market. If your child is very small, the baby will be safest if the seat is installed facing backward and at the centre of the back seat: this is the safest position.
Road trip: better short distances.
“I like to take road trips, moving often. Impossible with a child?” If your child is still a baby, let’s say under one year old, this is not a big problem, even better if still breast-fed. However, stick to your child’s schedule, plan trips so that they are not too long, taking meal times into account. Heat can cause discomfort. Take temperature changes into account, for example, when you get back into the car after it was parked in the sun. Prefer natural fibre clothing such as cotton, and always keep the necessities on hand to cool off and hydrate your child when needed.
In general, if you want to move and see several places, don’t rush, take it easy to stay in tune with the baby. Be realistic about the places to see and efforts to reach them: the fewer the things you think about doing, the greater the chance you and your family have of enjoying a stress-free holiday.
Choose the right car seat for your child’s age.
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