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Traveling With a Newborn Baby: By Car or Train
Traveling with your newborn can be stressful. But there are steps you can take so that you and your newborn have a safe and happy trip.
Note: Keep in mind that the doctor may recommend that your baby avoids crowds if he or she is younger than three months old. This is because a newborn’s immune system is not fully developed yet, so colds and other infections are more likely to occur. Before you plan your baby’s first trip, it is a good idea to talk to the doctor to be sure that it is safe.
Traveling by Car
When traveling in the car with your baby, your trip will go a lot smoother if you pack all of the supplies you will need. While some of the items may vary depending on the weather and the length of the trip, here are some supplies that you will want to add to your travel bag:
- Diapers, baby wipes, diaper rash ointment, and trash bags to dispose of the diapers
- Extra clothes
- Feeding supplies (eg, bottles, nipples, formula, bibs)—If you give your baby formula, follow the product’s instructions about how to safely store it.
- Age-appropriate toys—rattles, plastic rings
- Any medications that your baby needs
- Oral rehydration solution (ORS)—If your baby has diarrhea, ORS is used to prevent dehydration. It can be bought at a pharmacy.
Here are some tips for a safe trip:
- Use a rear-facing car seat until children are at least 2 years old or until they reach the height and weight limits of the car seat. Be sure to follow the directions for attaching the seat and for strapping in your baby. Always place the car seat in the back seat. This is the safest place for babies and children.
- Since your baby will be facing the back seat, place colorful pictures on the seat to provide something to look at.
- Dress your baby in comfortable clothes. This will make it easier for you to change a diaper.
- Use a window shade to block the sun from shining on your baby’s face.
- Play relaxing music in the car.
- Try to follow your baby’s regular feeding schedule. For example, if your baby is awake and ready for feeding, you will want to take a break from traveling to feed him or her.
- Unless your baby is sleeping, stop every hour to provide a break from sitting in the car seat and to change the diaper. You may want to give your baby a chance to move and stretch by placing them on a blanket outside. Also, while your baby is outside, be sure to provide protection from the sun. Dress your baby in clothes that cover the body. Newborns have delicate skin that can easily burn.
- When you have reached your destination, if possible, have your traveling companion drop you and your baby off at the door. Remember to set up a place to meet with your companion when the car is parked.
- Never leave your baby alone in the car. This is extremely dangerous. As the temperature rises in the car, a baby can die from heat stroke. Babies should always be in the care of responsible adults.
Traveling by Train
Just like a car trip, train travel requires time to prepare. You will want to be sure that you have all of the supplies that you need in your carry-on bag. Here are some other tips to keep in mind:
- Reserve a seat for your baby. You will be able to use the car seat on the train.
- Dress your baby in comfortable clothing. You may want to have a few layers so that you can adjust his clothing depending on the temperature on board.
- Arrive at the station early. This can reduce a lot of stress.
- If you need your baby’s formula heated or refrigerated, talk to the train staff. They may be able to assist you.
- If your baby cries, try holding them and walking down the aisles.
As you get more adapted to traveling with your baby, trips will go more smoothly. The most important point to remember is to be prepared by packing the supplies that you will need to take care of your little one.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Kids Health—Nemours Foundation
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Car passenger safety: car safety seats. University of Minnesota, Amplatz Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.uofmchildrenshospital.org/healthlibrary/Article/40069. Accessed May 8, 2014.
International travel with infants and children. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Travelers’ Health website. Available at: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2010/chapter-7/traveling-with-infants-and-children.aspx. Updated August 1, 2013. Accessed May 8, 2014.
Travel safety tips. American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/travelsafetytips.cfm. Updated June 2013. Accessed May 8, 2014.
Traveling with a baby. Children’s Physician Network website. Available at: http://www.cpnonline.org/CRS/CRS/pa%5Ftravelai%5Fpep.htm. Updated June 16, 2010. Accessed July 19, 2012.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014
- Update Date: 05/08/2014