Tips for long car rides

tips & packing suggestions

tips for long car rides

Long car rides are tougher with babies, but they're often unavoidable. Just make sure to travel safely, pack the night before to make travel day less stressful, and be prepared for the trip to take longer than it would otherwise.


Follow safe car seat recommendations when traveling with a newborn or baby
Follow safe car seat recommendations

Follow manufacturer's manual to install seat and buckle up correctly

Go rear-facing for as long as possible

Dress in light layers; no bulky layers under harness

Pull the car over to nurse or bottle feed

Drive during naptime when traveling with a newborn or baby
Drive during naptime

Time the drive with child's longest nap, or bedtime if you're okay driving in the dark

If traffic isn't stop-and-go, the movement usually helps them fall and stay asleep

plan for more frequent breaks when traveling with a baby or newborn
Plan for more frequent breaks

Safety experts say to stop every 2 hours, as prolonged time in car seat strains developing bones and muscles

Use your judgement; if baby is asleep or there's no good place to stop, you may want to keep going a bit longer

sit in the back seat if you want to and play or monitor your baby
Sit in the back if you can and want!

If you have a co-pilot, it can be helpful to sit back with your baby to play with them when they get bored & fussy

Checklist: Don't forget to bring...


Bring a few special or new toys or books and hand them to your child one by one as they get bored, lose them, or after a rest stop. Safety experts recommend soft toys as they're safer in an accident.

Sleep "tools"

Retractable window shade to block out strong light

Light blanket to layer on top of harnessed baby

A lovey they associate with naptime

Pacifier, if your baby uses one (with a clip so it doesn't keep falling to the ground!)

Sound machine if it helps your baby fall and stay asleep


Eating in a moving car increases the risk of choking in the event of a sudden stop or accident

If you do bring snacks, be extra cautious to avoid choking hazards and ideally an adult is in the back with the child if they're eating

Silicone spill-proof snack containers can help reduce the mess

Have a spill-proof water cup within reach too.

Car sickness cleanup supplies

It's common for older babies & toddlers to get car sick

Be prepared with plastic bags, paper towels, and an extra set of clothes

Diaper bag in backseat with all the essentials

Be prepared with all you might need in easy reach so you don't have to go digging through a suitcase at 70mph with a screaming baby

Include all the above + bottles with milk/formula, diapers & wipes

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