Our little Baby C is now 4 weeks old and we’ve just started going out and about in the car. It’s a new experience and every time we go out I think of another ‘essential’ we need. We plan on heading to Nottingham to see family soon and I want to make sure we have everything we need for the drive. It’s a long journey and it needs to be as comfortable for all of us as possible. We’ve been out to the shops a couple of times and I’ve already thought of a few essentials that I really need on every drive. Luckily, just before we became pregnant we had upgraded our car to a more family friendly model. I’ve realised just how much space car seats, bags and buggies take up so I’m so glad we did. I’d definitely recommend, as a driver, making sure your car is suitable for your new family member. I know cars are expensive, I used a car finance calculator before hand to give myself an idea of affordability and how much I needed to get together before hand. I’m so pleased I did and it’s given me one less (huge) thing to think about. But there are still the car travel baby essentials that I’d recommend (other than a completely new car!)
1. Obviously a car seat is VITAL! You need to get this and practise using it before your baby arrives. I’m 4 weeks in and still struggle a little with getting it in and out of the car. Make sure it will fit your car and try sitting in the back with it once it is in as that’s the real space test.
2. To make the car seat safer, I’d recommend an iso fix base too. It’s a little fiddly to get in but once its in, its in. Most cars come ready for this attachment but it’s still worth checking your car allows this kind of base. It definitely increases child safety and for me thats priceless.
3. A few lightweight blankets are always a good idea. It means you can layer up when needed and they are easy to take off and carry. I like to cover baby C more on the way to and from the car and take off his hat and top blanket once we are driving and the car has warmed up.
4. Just as we had baby C there was a lot of media going around about not putting a baby in a pram suit or super thick jacket while in a car seat. I’m glad I saw all of this as it’s not something thought of. I’ve been putting baby C in slightly oversized cardigans or hoodies, this means he is kept warm and snug with a warmer layer but without it being too thick and puffy. If we ever did get bumped in the car, this would mean he is secured by the car seat and doesn’t have spare inches around him from the coat.
5. If I drive with Mr C it’s fine, one of us sits in the back. If it’s just me driving I need the piece of mind that baby C is OK. Is he asleep, dribbling, being sick?! I need to know! I’ve just bought one of these mirrors that I can attach to the headrest facing the baby. I can then see the reflection in my rear view mirror. Problem solved! I can see if he is OK at all times and means I don’t have to keep pulling over to ease my paranoid mind!
6. Lastly, a simple sensory toy to give baby something to look at or grab depending on their age. Something that attaches securely to the baby seat and hangs down is ideal. It makes me feel a little better knowing he has something to play with. Just sitting there for hours can’t be much fun so I feel a little better giving him something like this.
For now, those are my car travel baby essentials. I’m sure there will be lots more to come as I get myself back on the road again!