How to Take a Long Road Trip with a Newborn Baby
Baby’s grandparents live in Dallas. Your little family lives in Birmingham. Instead of flying, you decide to take a 9-hour car trip with your newborn to visit Grandma and Grandpa. It’s Baby’s first road trip, and you’re excited as all get-out to load up your SUV and hit the highway. That excitement quickly turns to nervousness upon realizing that, even though you hold a stoic game face, you really have no idea how to take a long car ride with an infant, let alone how to parent.
Hey, every new parent’s been in your shoes. Sure, raising a kid is difficult—perhaps the most difficult task a person can tackle in life—but try you must, because Grandma and Grandpa want to
spoil see their little bundle of snuggles (their grandchild, not you).
To ease some of those worries, it’s best to think pragmatically about taking a long car journey with a newborn. While it may be true that life never goes as planned, you can always prepare yourself for as many curveballs as possible. Of course, doing so takes an epic amount of willpower and organization skills. Although we can’t instill willpower in you, we can help you get organized for your first road trip with a baby. Check (list) it!
The Ultimate “Long Road Trip with an Infant” Checklist
As you prep for your long-distance adventure with Baby in tow, take advantage of this packing checklist for new parents to ensure you don’t forget anything. (And remember: You’ve got this!)
- Properly installed infant car seat (read more about Alabama’s child car seat laws)
- Diapers (at least 1 diaper per hour of drive time)
- Baby wipes
- Diaper rash cream
- Portable changing pad
- Baby food and spoons (if baby is old enough)
- Cooler with ice packs to store milk
- Extra formula
- Gallon of purified drinking water
- Baby clothes (both light and heavy, for layering)
- Convenient baby carrier
- Fold-up stroller
- Diaper pail or trash can
- Rearview monitoring mirror
- Backseat organizer
- Portable Pack-and-Play/Sleep-and-Play
- Baby monitor
- Extra batteries for devices
- Rear window shades (click to order OEM car window shades in Birmingham)
- Resealable plastic baggies
- Trash bags
- Nose aspirator
- Nursing pillow
- Breast pump
- Baby hygiene items (shampoo, soap, nail clippers, etc.)
- Several sanitized bottles and nipples (plan to have more than you expect)
- Plug-in bottle warmer
- Infant toys
- Soothing music or sound/sleep machine
- Swaddle blankets
- Extra car seat cover and liners (diaper blowouts will happen…eventually)
- Stain remover
- First-aid kit
More Expert Advice for Parents Traveling with Newborns
Rear HVAC is crucial
Babies are temperamental with temperatures. Too cold, and they’ll cry. Too warm, and they’ll cry. Just perfect, and they’ll probably still cry, but maybe not as loudly? A vehicle like the parent-pleaser 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Touring comes standard with rear vents and even a voice-activated air conditioning system. Best of all, the Pacifica also features a standard air-filtration system that keeps 85% of air particulates (dust, smoke, aerosols, etc.) out of the cabin.
Plan for lots of stops
This includes your own bathroom breaks and time to feed and change the baby. You can even map your route in advance and choose a few good pit stops.
Sit in back
You can alleviate your anxiety and help calm your newborn down by having someone sit beside Baby’s car seat.
In-vehicle vacuums are helpful
Although infants can’t grip French fries, you’ll come to find out that toddlers can – and will – find a way to drop fries and everything else they can get their little, grubby hands on. With Pacifica’s built-in vacuum system, you can do a quick pick-up at the next stop. The 2022 Chrysler Pacifica and 2022 Pacifica Hybrid are the only new minivans with in-vehicle vacuums.
Drive when Baby sleeps
From personal experience, we’ll tell you that driving with a newborn is so much easier when they’re napping or sleeping. In fact, if you can make the drive overnight, or whenever Baby normally sleeps, you may save yourself lots of headaches.
Get your accessories in order
Don’t forget to install and try out your vehicle accessories before you start your journey! The last thing you want is to fiddle with a rear window shade or car seat toy when you should be on the road.
Double check Baby’s car seat is installed correctly
Car seat education for parents is important. Make sure you know how your infant’s seat works and bring it to an official car seat inspection station near you to ensure it’s securely installed.
How’s the storage?
You’ll quickly discover that infant car seats are made by the devil himself. They’re not only heavy to carry and tricky to install, but they also take up a lot of room, which is difficult to navigate when you’ve got luggage and baby gear to stow. Pacifica’s class-exclusive Stow ‘n Go Seating and Storage lets you fold the seats into the floor for extra space, and the minivan’s various cubbies and storage areas make life much easier for busy, on-the-go and sleep-deprived parents (you know who you are).
How’re the seats?
One of our favorite features of the Pacifica is its second-row Easy Tilt Seating, which enables third-row passengers to get in and out of the vehicle without needing to uninstall or more rear-facing child car seats.
Practice makes perfect
Ramp up your drive-time with Baby a few weeks before your big trip. Start with shorter drives — an hour, tops — and then take longer trips out of town.
Get your vehicle serviced
The only thing worse than having to take a long car ride with a newborn is having to deal with your vehicle breaking down while taking a long car ride with a newborn. Get your oil changes, tire rotations, and routine services taken care of early. Click here to schedule auto service in Birmingham.
Buy a vehicle with a camera system
It’s impossible to watch your baby 24/7, but you can sure try. Pacifica’s FamCAM is the perfect set of “eyes in the back of your head,” offering you split-views of both front- and rear-facing car seats. It even has a night-vision mode, which adds a bit of horror-film, “my baby is possessed” flavor to your travels.
Before you know it, Grandma and Grandpa will take over parenting duties while you nap in the recliner. Now, enjoy your visit and rest up; you’ve still got the car ride home to deal with. Good luck.
Ready to go? First, make sure you’ve got a parent-friendly vehicle like the Pacifica Hybrid. Contact Jim Burke Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM to request a quote on a new minivan or used SUV in Birmingham. Simply call our sales team at (205) 502-2772 or visit our Birmingham car dealership at 1409 5th Avenue North – and bring the little one!