4. Keep all family members safe during your road trip.
Of course, your number one priority during a road trip with a baby or toddler is to arrive at your destination safe and sound. Before setting out, be sure your vehicle is up-to-date on any oil changes or scheduled maintenance. You should also keep a roadside emergency kit in your car filled with bandages, medicines, a flashlight, and other useful items. Often these come with the vehicle, or you can purchase a pre-filled kit.
It’s also important to keep your family safe from projectiles in case of a sudden stop or car accident. Anything not secured in your vehicle will fly through the air until it hits a window, dashboard, barrier or person. These projectiles can cause serious injury or even death. A “Baby on Board” sign may not do much to protect your little one during an accident but a Travall guard will. Keep any loose items like suitcases, camping gear, and travel cribs secured in the trunk or behind a Travall guard.
5. Listen to music during the journey.
Music is one of the best tools for keeping families content and entertained during a family road trip. Music provides a wonderful gateway to other cultures, too. Listening to music in another language is an easy and fun way to expose babies and toddlers to the sounds of words of another tongue. A favorite when my kids were wee is Songs in French for Childrenby Lucienne Vernay and Les Quatres Barbus.
Dr. Jessica Voigts of Wandering Educators suggests making mix CDs or playlists for MP3 players. Include a variety of melodies that will appeal to everyone in the car.
6. Bring a bucket.
I learned this one the hard way. Plan to bring a bucket along on your road trip and keep it within arm’s distance. If your child has a bout of motion sickness or stomach flu, you’ll thank me. A simple plastic beach pail works well.
7. Watch movies on the road.
Even if you don’t allow your children to watch television or movies at home, you may want to consider bending the rules for a road trip with a baby or toddler. Worried your kids will expect a movie every time they get buckled in? Do as my friend and former neighbor, Sara, did with her children and tell them that the movies only work when you’re far from home.
If your vehicle comes equipped with a DVD player, you might as well bring a long a few movies to pop in during a long delay on the road or in case of a whopper of a meltdown.