Traveling for the first time with your newborn sounds very exciting. It’s their first taste of the real world, out in the open road.
But traveling with your newborn isn’t all fun and games. There are several safety risks involved that need your consideration.
Today, we’ll be addressing one of the most asked questions of parents: “How soon can a newborn travel long distances by car?”
The Safest and Most Realistic Timeline
In general, there’s no harm in traveling with a newborn baby by car. Newborns get to experience the world for the first time!
Nevertheless, to make things a lot easier for you, we highly recommend reserving your long road trip for when your infant is about three months old.
Having a newborn baby is NO EASY TASK! Your first month is dedicated to adjusting to the demands of having a child, and going on a long journey is just uncalled for.
Not only are you trying to deal with a child, but you’ll also have to face the challenges involved in terms of traveling with an infant.
That said, give yourself a good few months before you go on a long journey with your new baby. Dealing with older babies on a road trip will be a lot more manageable!
Can a Newborn Travel by Car?
At some point, parents would want to go on road trips with their newborn child. They want to go on a cross-country adventure and let their baby girl or baby boy experience the world for the first time.
If you’d ask us, there’s honestly nothing wrong with that.
What’s wrong with bringing an infant out for an adventure?
But no matter how exciting the idea sounds, the process isn’t that easy. Going on a road trip with an infant is unlike what you’ve prepared for before.
Parents don’t just pack their bags and head straight for the road. Things are A LOT MORE COMPLICATED with your newborn around.
Many questions and issues need to be addressed first, and finding one clear answer may be challenging.
Risks Associated With Traveling Long Distance
There’s no rule nor restriction about traveling with an infant. However, there are still many people who raise several questions if it’s entirely safe.
And this is because there are several risks involved when traveling with newborns. We’ll discuss these risks below.
Newborns are so fragile and delicate, and they haven’t developed enough muscle control yet. Heck, they can’t even hold their heads still just yet.
Without the proper support, their head can flop from side to side and result in several things.
That said, one of the risks involved when traveling with newborn babies is suffocation — especially if you place your baby in a car seat or carrier for a long road trip.
This is DANGEROUS because you won’t notice if there’s anything wrong with your baby.
Unlike traveling with older and more developed babies, the risk is A LOT LOWER.
Car Motion Sickness
At some point, while you were still a child, you’ve vomited at least once or thrice in your car road trips. No matter how long you’ve been traveling inside a car, you still suffer from motion sickness. Yikes!
Vomiting on the side of the road or inside a plastic bag while the car is still moving is a memory we’re sure you don’t want to remember as a child.
Imagine what the motion feels like to a baby. They AREN’T used to the motions of car rides just yet, which makes them highly susceptible to getting sick.
Sure they’ll spend most of their time asleep on their car seat, but what about the times where they’re awake? That sounds like a recipe for disaster!
How to Prepare When Traveling With a Newborn?
Traveling with your infant feels like you’re traveling across the globe for the first time. You’ve got to mentally prepare yourself, as well as your baby’s belongings, for the best possible experience!
The rules on traveling with children aren’t set in stone, but preparing for long distances can feel OVERWHELMING. You’ve got many questions in your head, such as:
- What do I bring?
- What should I pack?
- What to do if my infant starts experiencing discomfort?
There’s a lot that can happen while on the road, whether bad or good. As an aspiring good parent, we’re sure you want to be ready for anything that can happen.
We’re here to help you with just that. We’ve listed down some of the essential items you need to pack to make traveling with your newborn a breeze.
Have a Car Seat
Once you have a child, investing in a good, non-toxic car seat is crucial.
- Car seats play an essential role in keeping your baby safe while you’re traveling.
- Moreover, car seats also help in supporting the neck of children. It allows their own head and neck to stay in ONE POSITION and avoid the risk of suffocation or injuries.
Today, there’s a variety of car seat designs out there.
You can either have your car seat lay flat for infants to lay down, or you can set it upright in a sitting position. Choose whatever car seat is most comfortable for infants!
But the most important thing to ensure is to have the car seat FITTED to your car whenever you transport babies. SAFETY FIRST!
Now, we’re saying that car seats are an investment because they’re a little pricey. Nevertheless, spending on one excellent car seat is worth it, especially if you’re always on the road.
Bring Extra Baby Essential Items
Once you’ve become a parent, one of the things you’ll always have in your car is a diaper/baby bag. It has all the following essentials:
- Birth certificate (just in case you stumble upon highway patrollers)
- Diapers (probably a LOT MORE diapers than you think)
- Breast milk
What’s packed inside the bag is usually enough for one day or two, but not for a long-distance trip.
As much as possible, you want to have enough of all the essentials. Ideally, you should pack essentials for a big trip for FIVE DAYS to be safe. As they say, it always pays to be ready for anything than not at all.
Packing all sorts of essentials may sound like a hassle for some. After all, there’s a lot of things that need to be brought.
But despite this hassle, it takes away and lessens the inconvenience you’ll experience while you’re on the road.
You wouldn’t have to spend half the time worrying about what your little one will need en route to your destination.
Prepare a First Aid Kit
Packing a first aid kit is crucial regardless of your age. You should have your essential items like:
You never know what’s about to happen on the road to you or your newborn. Whether it’s a minor scratch or a major bruise, at least you’ve got something to work with.
Tips to Having a Peaceful and Safe Journey
You’re finally ready to hit the road, and we’re sure you’re EXCITED! You’ve prepared everything, and you and your baby are ready to take on the long journey ahead. It sounds like a lot of fun!
Your little one is safe and secure on their baby seat, and as for you, you’ve got your playlist ready. For an hour and a half or so, you get a nice and peaceful ride.
But after that, you find yourself in the middle of a tornado. Your baby starts squirming in their baby seat, thus resulting in an UNSTOPPABLE WAILING SOUND. OH NO!
Luckily, you can avoid this from ever happening on your trip so long as you follow these tips.
#1 Place Your Baby Comfortably on the Car Seat
For most newborns, it’s more comfortable to have their car seats LAY FLAT. It’s as if they’re sleeping in their cot, and they can stretch their legs!
Regardless of which position you place them in, make sure they’re comfortable and secure in their car seats.
NOTE: The strap SHOULD NOT be too tight to suffocate them, nor should it be too loose to cause accidents.
You should make sure your baby feels cool and comfy in their car seat for the entire ride.
#2 Set Up a Distraction
Several times in your trip, your little one will eventually wake up. What better way to entertain them than by having distractions?
It doesn’t have to be grand or anything. Sometimes, all it takes is a few toys your baby loves to make them happy. You can even set up calming music to help your baby sleep!
#3 Frequent Breaks
At some point in your trip, you need to take a break and make a pit stop. This is one of the silent rules among drivers to maintain a safe journey on the road.
Here are some benefits of taking a quick rest stop:
- You can stretch your legs and check on your baby.
- It reduces your chance of getting into an accident throughout your travel.
We can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to have breaks, especially if you’re the driver.
It’s during these times when you can focus on the following:
- Feeding your baby
- Changing his/her clothes and diapers
#4 Check-In on Your Baby
Whenever you’re on the road, ALWAYS check on your baby. Ask yourself these questions.
- Are they doing fine in the back?
- Is there something weird going on?
As much as possible, you want to be sensitive to the needs of your baby.
We know you also want to enjoy yourself on the road. With tons of sights to see before your destination, you’ve got a lot of distractions ahead of you.
Regardless of how beautiful the sights are, always check on the welfare of your children. Make sure they’re still in a comfortable position and not under direct sunlight. And of course, make sure to check if it’s already feeding time!
You can always strike a balance between being a great and responsible mother while enjoying your journey.
Is It Safe for a Newborn to Travel by Other Means?
Traveling with younger infants is an important subject to discuss. Like we said, traveling with babies by car isn’t a problem, and there are no written rules about it.
However, when traveling through other modes of transport (e.g., international travel), the answer is A LOT DIFFERENT. People have different opinions about this because there’s a lot of questions and issues involved.
The answer to this question: YES, your children can travel through other modes of transportation provided they’re at least four months old.
Why Is This So?
Your pediatrician will most likely advise you NOT TO TRAVEL with your newborn baby by airplane, boat, bus, among others. The reason behind it is straightforward.
Studies show that children below four months old are not yet fully developed. They lack the proper development of their immune system to travel with a vast number of people at such a young and tender age.
Just imagine how many people they’re traveling with, who could be carriers of some sickness, disease, or other infections. Anyone and everyone around your baby may be silent killers, and you don’t know about it.
As a good mother, do you want to take that chance on your son/daughter? Surely you won’t.
Even if it’s just one person who’s nevertheless a stranger to you, DON’T RISK IT.
To minimize this risk, always consult with your pediatrician and ask for travel tips and advice on what to do.
Your doctor will most likely recommend that you wait until your baby fully develops its immune system and has completed its vaccinations.
Today, we answered one of the most asked questions: How early can a newborn travel long distance by car?
First-time parents can get straight to the road, but only if they’re prepared for it.
Remember, traveling with a newborn child IS NOT LIKE traveling with your friend. It requires a lot of planning and preparation to have a memorable and safe journey.
We hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to give it a like and share it with your friends and fellow parents! They’ll surely learn information from this piece of advice.
July 22, 2021 – updated interlinking, updated external links