With a new baby, it can be hard to picture yourself getting away for the weekend for some vacation time. However, you shouldn’t have to miss out on annual family vacations or a weekend getaway with your loved ones. While there is always the option of finding a babysitter, many parents want to include their new little one in their adventures.
That being said, you might still feel hesitant or nervous about traveling long distances with your baby in the car or wonder how you will create a safe sleeping environment for them once you’ve arrived at your destination. Tips are provided below to help you with road travel safety as well as choosing the safest portable sleeping surfaces. That condo on the beach or cozy ski lodge is closer than you think!
Traveling with Baby in the Car
When traveling with your infant in the car, it is imperative to use a car seat at all times. The AAP recommends that all infants and toddlers ride in a rear-facing car seat until the age of 2 years or until they have reached the maximum height or weight allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. There are three types of rear-facing car seats: rear-facing-only seats, convertible seats, and 3-in-1 seats. Check out this article from healthychildren.org (from the AAP) for more information on the three kinds of rear-facing car seats and when each is most appropriate.
Remember that while driving, it is okay if your infant falls asleep in their car seat, as this is often unavoidable. Just make sure to remove your child from the car seat once you have arrived at your destination. A car seat is not an appropriate sleeping surface for a child once they are no longer riding in the car, as infants might move into a position that could cause injury or compromise their airway.
Finding Safe Portable Sleep Surfaces
So you’ve safely transported your infant to your vacation spot. Now it’s time to ensure they have a sleeping area that abides by the ABC’s of Safe Sleep, where they can sleep Alone, on their Back, and in a Clean, Clear Crib. A portable bassinet, crib, or play yard free of pillows, blankets, toys, and other objects are the safest options for your infant’s sleep on the go. Check to make sure these abide by the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Be sure your child’s sleep surface is firm. Do not use pillows or anything too soft as a substitute for a mattress. Many local organizations across the U.S. offer low-cost or free cribs or play yards to families with financial limitations. Cribs for Kids offers Graco Pack ‘n Play portable cribs to those who qualify. Click here to find a Cribs for Kids partner in your area.
While it takes extra planning and care, vacationing with your baby can be enjoyable. It is possible to have a relaxing trip without risking your baby’s safety. Above all else, remember to follow the ABC’s of Safe Sleep and your worries will be eased. Can you feel that ocean breeze or brisk mountain air yet? It’s definitely within your reach!