Car Travel With Baby: One Mom’s Simple Tips For Traveling With A Toddler In The Car

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My baby is now a 1 year old toddler — which means he can finally ride in a forward facing car seat.

For our first toddler car seat, we chose the Britax convertible car seat because of its high safety rating.

He hated his rear facing car seat, and we were desperate to have him be comfortable and enjoy traveling in our vehicles.

After discussing with other parent friends, we discovered the consensus is most babies are miserable in a rear facing car seat. It was time to face baby forward!

We chose this Britax convertible car seat — because of the high safety rating.

Our baby will fit in it until he is 65 lbs. or 49 inches tall.

We bought 2 of the exact same car seats — one for each vehicle. We are in and out both of our vehicles quite regularly, so having both vehicles ready to transport baby is what works most efficiently for our family.

We do most of our long-distance traveling in our Cadillac Escalade, but we sometimes take long day trips in our Hummer H3. We also like to Jeep as a family. The H3 will go anywhere a Jeep can go, so we enjoy exploring backroads or old logging trails in the Hummer once in awhile too.

No matter which vehicle we choose, traveling with a toddler requires that we always have a diaper bag, a few small toys, snacks, water, and of course, “in transit entertainment”(baby’s favorite DVDs).

My baby watching DVD movies while traveling in the car.

Here’s what traveling with a toddler in the car is like for us…


Movies & Educational Videos For Toddler Car Rides

I know television isn’t recommended for children under 2 years of age. And I definitely don’t rely on it or use it as a regular distraction when we’re home. In fact, I rarely let my baby watch TV while we’re at home.

But when it comes to traveling in a vehicle, I am completely willing to bend the rules a bit — and I let our baby watch family-friendly DVDs if the programs are keeping him happy, quiet, and distracted during a car ride (which they do most of the time).

Our Escalade is equipped with a 6-disc DVD player and 2 passenger monitors for each row of seating. The monitor is in perfect view of baby with his forward facing car seat. We load the DVD player with all of his favorite DVDs and the programs keep him happily entertained during the times he is not sleeping while traveling.

Even when he falls asleep in his Britax convertible car seat, he looks quite comfortable!

Some of his favorite DVDs are:

Kid-friendly DVD movies are great when traveling with a toddler in the car!

TIP: In the Hummer, which doesn’t have a DVD player, we use our iPad mini attached to the headrest in front of baby — using a fast release headrest mount for iPads. My husband will either stream a video on the iPad through unlimited data or have programs stored/downloaded for when we are traveling in places with no Internet.


Food & Snacks For Toddler Car Rides

We also pack snacks and water, in addition to the “in transit” entertainment.

My baby is a great self feeder — but he has never taken to a bottle.

To tide him over in between nursing, we like to pack cereal puffs in a Munchkin snack catcher.

Pouring cereal puffs into a Munchkin snack cup.

He’s able to reach into the Munchkin cup, grab a couple cereal puffs, and self feed while watching his entertainment in the car. The snack catcher keeps the puffs from spilling entirely — should he happen to drop the cup.

Even if he falls asleep or spills the Munchkin snack cup, all of the contents of the cup don't fall out!

He also likes to drink water out of a straw — so we pack a sippy cup with a built-in straw which is leak-proof and spill-proof.

We really like the Nuby active sippy cup with flexible silicone straw. The cup is designed to have the water/fluid sucked out only, and it has a twist cap to close and tuck away the straw when not in use. The cup is also tapered — which allows baby to hold the cup easily in his tiny hands.

Toddler car rides require having snacks and water handy at all times.

Because my little one is still breastfeeding, I do have to plan stops to breastfeed my baby, but those times are also a great way to give baby a break from the car seat on long drives.

Lastly, whenever we are traveling in the car, we always make a point to pack some of his small toys — which keep him entertained (at times).

Even their own favorite toys can sometimes make great road trip activities for toddlers.


The Bottom Line…

As parents, we simply do our best to make traveling with a toddler go as smoothly as possible.

We all pray to arrive safely to our destination and, of course, for a relatively cry-free trip!

Now that we have our baby in a forward facing car seat, we all rather enjoy our car time when we’re on the road for whatever reason.

All smiles! Traveling with a toddler in the car is fun... as long as mom remembers to pack all the 'necessities'!