You may be surprised at how often babies will sleep to & from the destination. Be sure to have their favorite stuffed animal ready & blanket for the trip (also a pacifier & bottle if the child is young enough). For babies & toddlers, bring along cassette tapes filled with stories & music that is age appropriate. You can sing along to help entertain them. Other items that you will want to take with you are : A foldable playpen An age appropriate car seat A diaper bag Something to keep the sun out of the child抯 eyes For children ages 1 ? years, bring items to play with.
Such items can include: scotch tape, window clings, books, coloring books, crayons, a couple plush animals & finger food. Be sure to bring out toy at a time. When you get out one toy, put the others away.
This way the items stay new. Switch toys every 10 ?5 minutes (longer if the child is older). This keeps the toys & books new and exciting. You will want to have at least 12 toys.
12 toys is appropriate for a trip of 12 hours or less. To be on the safe side add a couple extra or buy a few at stops on the way there. This will allow you to rotate for two hours without having anything boring. You will not need a ton of toys for under a year old, as they will sleep most of the way there (at least hopefully ?if you child isn抰 prone to sleeping in the car ?you will have to improvise).
You will want someone next to the young child at all times to make sure they stay happy during the entire trip. It can be upsetting to the driver if the baby is constantly crying. For those crying fits: First try the basic easy things by offering a bottle, pacifier, blanket, doll/stuffed animal, finger food or new toy. If these don抰 work and the child continues to cry for longer than five minutes, pull over at a rest stop. Check the child抯 diaper, look for rashes, or places the skin may be rubbing against the car seat, and check for food or items underneath their bottom.
If none of these work, re-adjust the child in their chair & keep driving. If the child is old enough to talk, ask them what is bothering them. If nothing works and the child continues to cry, strap him/her back in the car seat and continue to drive. This time don抰 stop the car until 30 minutes or longer has passed. During this half hour try the things you tried initially. If all is hopeless, ignore the child.
Before 30 minutes, it is very likely the child will calm down or fall asleep unless something is seriously wrong. If you stop every time the child cries, he/she will cry MORE! If you do end up stopping a second time (after 30 minutes), first re-check the diaper (it is not uncommon to have two incidents in a half hour) and second check to see if the child is ill. If the child is old enough (2-3 years) and there is nothing wrong (diaper etc) & the fit continues, it may call for disciplinary action (always give the child try to give the warning before disciplining ?this way the child chooses his/her own fate). A quick note: choose a driver that can handle crying for 5- 10 minutes without getting too irritable. It is true that there may be the occasional crying, but for the most part the trip should go well for both you, the riders and your child.
By: Sarah Delaporte