Road Tripping with kids
Ever dared to embark on a road trip with a baby or kids? I wouldn’t have dared to until I was really pushed to a corner to do so. However, on hindsight I now realize how easy and comfortable it could have been with a little planning the first time around.
It happened exactly about 2 months after my little daughter – Anvita was born. We were supposed to catch a flight back home, which I missed owing to my own miscalculation (read silly mistake) . The subsequent flights were too costly on the verge of being prohibitive and the seats too weren’t available to accommodate all of us. The luggage was already packed and so a decision was made to hit the road with my trusty beast – the Scorpio.
We packed additional luggage suitable for a road trip and started at 0600 in the morning on 16th November 2012. We made stops every 4 hours for the usual (lunch, dinner, diesel, tea, etc) but got stuck in a diversion at Firozabad which wasted a precious 40 minutes. I made the mistake of listening to locals instead of trusting my gut and it resulted in driving on some bad roads. But we still managed to reach our Patna home at 23:20! Google mentioned that the route I took was 1,093 kms and my car’s trip meter said 1082.0 kms. That I’d say is very precise for such a long distance.
And Anvita? Thankfully, she had been sleeping all the way, gracefully and without causing any inconvenience! 🙂
So what should you do if you have to take a road trip with a baby/kid to make it a comfortable trip for everyone?
Here are some basic tips:
- Invest in a good baby seat. Thumb rule – any baby seat costing less than 5k is waste.
- Make sure your baby seat is at least ECE R44 04 (European Standard for Child Safety Equipment) or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) certified. These certifications are Europe and US based respectively and ensure that strict safety standards are met.
- Make sure that the baby seat is rear-facing for baby upto 1 year or 13 kgs and forward facing from 9 to 18 kgs. If you don’t want to get two separate seats, make sure you get a combination seat as I got one.
- Do not install the baby seat on the front co-driver seats; always install it on the middle row, preferably behind the co-driver seat.
- Make sure that the baby seat has 5-point harness belts securing the baby firmly in the seat.
- For kids and toddlers, get a booster seat.
A good baby seat would ensure that your baby sleeps blissfully through the journey.
- Keep a changing mat, as many diapers as possible, baby wipes, baby food, oats, fruits like banana etc., depending on the age of the baby. Also carry ample drinking water, a tumbler and a spoon.
- Avoid all foods that are sticky, messy or crumby. Make sure juice cartons are small and finish in one serving or bring spill-proof sealable cups.
- Keep at least 5 disposable bags for each day of the trip for soiled clothing, storing waste food and trash during the journey.
- If you’re nursing, make sure to wear something that is loose and bring a light shawl to cover yourselves while feeding.
- Stop as many times as you like, the idea of doing a road trip is to enjoy your surroundings, so go ahead and let your kid get used to it!
Above all, drive gracefully and gently to avoid shocks and bumps.
If you keep a note of the above, all road trips could turn into a memorable trip.
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