One of the most important aspects of a road trip is making sure your children can nap if they need to (I know mine always need it when we are on a lengthy trip). Sleepless children become cranky, uncontrollable children, whether you like it or not. So here are a few tips that should help make your vehicle a more sleep friendly place.
-Pillows! You can use standard pillows, but make sure you also think about pillows that will not fall down. And for infants you need to make sure you are NOT using normal pillows because of suffocation issues. For smaller babies and children I recommend a car seat insert like the one seen above because it actually stays in place using the straps of the car seat, and it keeps your little cutie’s head from flopping around. For older children I suggest finding a travel pillow that has a strap on it. You can see in the other picture that Ksena is using a butterfly pillow that is secured to her CARES harness with a little strap that has a button on it… I also use this pillow to attach to her car seat when we are going on a road trip. It stays in place, which is key because she thrashes around in her sleep no matter where we are. I bought it at Target from the travel pillow area.
-WIndow shades. You can go ahead and drop several hundred dollars on window tinting, or you can go to your local hardware, automobile, or baby specialty store and spend a few dollars on one of those screens that sticks to your window with a suction cup (we opted for the later). It is no fun for your little one to travel with the sun in their face. And the nice thing about the suction cup screens is they can easily pop in and out if you are going to be riding in a friend’s car.
-Hat and sunglasses. We have hats and sunglasses for each of our children to help them with the sun if it is really intense. We (mom and dad) both wear sunglasses in the car and the kids really like to do the same thing as mommy and daddy. Plus they look so cute in them! I have had them fall asleep in the sunglasses before, and hey, whatever facilitates sleep in the car, right?
-Blankets. Make sure you carry blankets for them in case they get cold. Whenever we use the Air Conditioning our oldest daughter gets super cold. She is on the thin side and she gets cold in just about every situation.
-Quiet. This is more difficult to achieve when it’s more than me and my husband in the car. Soft music doesn’t seem to create an issue, but talking really keeps them awake. Adults like to converse, and there is nothing wrong with that, but if they want to talk the whole way home when your little one is trying desperately to fall asleep, they should not complain about the crying. I have been in far more than one situation where I thought, “If you would only be quiet for 10 minutes, my child would sleep for an hour!”
The final thing I wanted to note on this particular post is about young infants and extensive car travel. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it, but you need to be careful. If you are going to be in the car more than two hours you need to check on your baby often and make sure if you are on a really long trip you stop at least every 3 hours. Unfortunately, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) can happen anytime a baby is sleeping, and that includes in the car, although it is extremely rare. It’s not a fact to stop you from traveling, it’s just something to be aware of. A lot of the time we were traveling with our girls in the car and they were really young, I opted to sit in the back next to them so I could make sure they were ok.
So, is anyone planning a road trip yet? What are some tips you can give us on how to make your car as sleep friendly as possible? Don’t forget to check out the rest of this series here.