• George Bell-Starr

Baby Travel by car: what you need to know.

Even if you are having a quiet period at home with your newborn - which is completely understandable - it is highly likely that you're going to need to get your little one home from the hospital.

Moving forward you are going to want to get out and about, do the shopping or see friends, we've got everything you need to make car travel simple and safe.

What do you need?

Travelling by car is one of the easiest, and quickest ways of getting around. You don't need much and it means you can take almost everything you need without any faff. The essential list is as follows:

- Car seat, the exact car seat type that you need will depend on your childs age but they will need one until they are 12 years of age. For the law within the UK, click here.

That's literally all you need. Nowadays a lot of cars are fitted for ISOFIX bases. These are bases which save you the hassle of strapping the seat in every time. We have used car seats with and without an ISOFIX base, both worked well for us.

What is nice to have?

- Window shade/blind. These will help keep the sun out of your little ones eyes and keep the back of the car slightly darker; perfect for those car induced naps!

- Baby mirror. These attach on the rear seat headrest and allow you to keep your little on in view through the cars rear view mirror. If you don't have (or want) a mirror then you can always send mum to the backseat to keep little one company.

- Favourite toys. Something to help keep them entertained, though if they're anything like Evie they'll hopefully sleep for most of the journey.

"How long can we leave our little one in the car seat for?"

This is one of the most common questions we receive in our workshops. Unsurprisingly there is no hard and fast rule in regards to the time, and there has been very little research into the matter.

The NHS and the Lullaby Trust both state that you should avoid leaving your baby in their car seat for an extended amount of time, though neither specify - helpfully! It is, however advised that as a driver you should take a 15 minute rest every 2 hours and this is the general pattern that we have been following with Evie.

We are also led by Evie, if she's still asleep we won't stop as often (we take it as she's quite comfy), if she's awake we'll stop every 90 minutes or so, less if she becomes fussy.

Top Tips:

- Remember to take outer layers off when you put your child in their car seat. Thick padded coats will hinder your ability to tighten the harness enough.

- If you can, time your longer journeys around regular nap times. Evie often naps just after 10:00, so if we can we try to set off between 9:30 and 10:00 and we can get almost 2 hours of driving. On the flip side, be mindful that a car induced nap might mess up that days sleep schedule.

- Keep of box of tissues to hand. You never know when you need to mop of some baby fluids!


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