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The Essential Packing Checklist for Traveling with an Infant in the Car

Traveling with Infant
Allianz - Traveling with Infant

You're on your first long road trip with baby, and just as traffic screeches to a halt your baby starts screeching too. She needs a diaper, stat — and as you rummage through your bag with one hand, you realize you forgot to pack them.

We don't want this to happen to you. Use this printable packing checklist next time you're traveling with an infant in the car.

Things To do Before Leaving on your Road Trip with Baby

  • Make doubly sure your car seat is installed correctly. This is a good time to take a look at your baby's car seat to make sure the straps fit snugly, the angle is correct and the seat itself doesn't move more than an inch in any direction. If you need help, can help you find a car seat inspection station near you. While it may be tempting to have your baby ride facing forward so you can keep an eye on him, rear-facing is the safest position for children until they're at least two.1
  • Map out places to stop. Don't count on driving for six hours straight. Traveling with an infant will be less frustrating if you plan to take frequent breaks, ideally somewhere that will entertain your baby. We're not talking about Disney World, but rather places like parks and shopping malls. Even marinas and roadside construction sites can provide some much-needed distractions during a road trip with baby.
  • Plan ways for your baby to kill time. Every minute your baby's busy, you're another mile closer to your destination. Place a dozen small (but safe) toys in a cloth bag with a narrow opening and let baby reach in to pull them out. An older baby can fish Cheerios one-by-one out of a spill-proof snack cup.
  • Protect your own sanity. Download a favorite audiobook. Stash some chocolate in your diaper bag. Schedule Starbucks breaks. Do anything it takes to keep yourself relaxed and calm. If you can't take another minute of traveling with an infant who's screaming and crying, pull over. Hold your baby, change her diaper, read a book together and try again.

What To Keep in the Front Seat while Traveling with Baby

These are the supplies you'll want to keep close at hand when you're driving.

  • Diapers: Have one for each hour of transit, plus extras, BabyCenter recommends.
  • Wipes for diaper changes and messes
  • Diaper cream
  • Washable changing pad
  • Plastic bags for wet or dirty clothes and diapers
  • Burp cloths
  • Nursing cover
  • Blankets
  • Two changes of clothes for your baby
  • Change of clothes for yourself
  • Pacifiers
  • Any special toy or lovey
  • Drinks such as bottled water and juice
  • Snacks, such as cereal, puffs, crackers and fruit pouches. If you have a young baby, never give her foods she could choke on while you're traveling in the car.
  • Breast milk or formula
  • Canned or jarred baby food
  • Small cooler with ice packs
  • Bottles
  • First-aid kit
  • A window sun shade
  • A safety mirror so you can see your baby
  • A stack of small board books
  • A grab bag of toys (make sure none are choking hazards)
  • DVD player or tablet with headphones, if baby will be entertained by an app or a TV show

Everything Else To Pack in the Car when Traveling with Baby

  • Umbrella stroller and/or full-size stroller
  • Backpack carrier
  • Pack-and-play or travel crib (unless your destination provides one) and sheets
  • Baby monitor and batteries
  • Diapers: Calculate how many your baby uses per day, then pack a few extra.
  • Wipes
  • Rain and cold-weather gear (if applicable)
  • At least two outfits per day with socks, packed in individual bags
  • Shoes or booties
  • Pajamas and sleep sacks
  • Swimsuit and sunsuit
  • Water shoes
  • Swim diapers
  • Baby laundry detergent
  • Formula
  • Baby food
  • Baby fork, spoon and dishes
  • Spill-proof snack cups
  • Bottles or sippy cups
  • Breast pump, if you use one
  • Bibs
  • Dish soap and brush
  • Inflatable baby bathtub, if you're flying with an infant so young he/she needs one. Otherwise use the hotel sink.
  • Baby shampoo/wash
  • Baby toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Baby comb, brush and hair ties
  • Baby nail clippers
  • Baby thermometer
  • Sunscreen and sunhat
  • Baby sunglasses
  • Outlet plugs, doorknob covers, toilet locks and other safety devices for crawling babies or young toddlers
  • Nightlight
  • Infant medications, including antihistamine and acetaminophen, plus any prescriptions. Don't give your baby Benadryl or another antihistamine unless your pediatrician recommends it.2
  • Oral rehydration unfrozen freeze pops: an essential, says Have Baby Will Travel
  • Nasal aspirator and saline solution

Print Our Checklist for Traveling with Baby

Be sure to print our checklist for traveling with a baby and take it with you. Simply click the print link below and make sure to have your browser set to print background images so that you can see the checkboxes.

Print Checklist

Apr 27, 2015