The Bekins Blog
Tips for Long-Distance Car Travel With a Baby When You Move
A long-distance move can be hard on everyone. However, if you are making the move to another state with a baby, it’s even more important to remain relaxed on the road trip to your new home. While a professional moving company can do the packing, transporting, and unpacking to make the move as stress-free as possible, there are things you can do to make traveling with a baby less stressful.
Map the Route
If you intend to make the trip ahead of the moving van, leave in plenty of time. Plan your route carefully in advance, scheduling rest stops along the way. Allow extra time for flexibility in case of delays and unplanned stops.
Prepare a list of hospitals and walk-in urgent care clinics that are located along your travel route in case your baby gets sick on the way. Some infants get sick a lot, usually with common illnesses, but it’s best to be prepared.
Take Your Baby’s Medical Records on the Road
Before you leave for your new home, request copies of medical records from any health care providers who treated your child. You will also need the records for the pediatrician you choose in your new area of residence.
Take photocopies of all your baby’s well-baby checkups, vaccinations, and emergency medical treatment with you on the road. Be sure you have the contact information for any medical professionals who provided services and care to your baby before the move in case there are questions.
Verify Your Health Insurance Coverage
If you are moving because your employer is transferring you to a location in another state, your insurance coverage may remain unchanged. In the event that you have to enroll in a new health care plan, find out if the plan will allow you to enroll before you make the move. Otherwise, health plans that offer a special enrollment period typically give you up to 60 days from the day you move to get new coverage.
Depending on the rules of the health plan, you may have a gap in coverage until your new plan takes effect. Consider enrolling in a short-term plan in the interim. You don’t want to be without health care coverage for your baby or the rest of the family. Have your health insurance I.D. card with you as you travel to prove that you have health insurance.
Keep Your Baby Safe
Car seats for babies are required by law, but there are many different makes and models of infant car seats on the market. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends choosing a car seat that fits your baby’s age and size, generally determined by weight and height.
If your baby is younger than 12 months, a rear-facing car seat is the safest choice. It helps protect an infant’s head, neck, and spinal column if a traffic collision occurs. A crash puts stress on a baby’s neck and spine, but a rear-facing car seat helps diffuse the impact and force of the crash.
Follow Car Seat Installation Instructions
Install your baby’s car seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Installation guidelines differ depending on whether your baby’s car seat is a rear-facing only infant car seat or rear-facing convertible car seat. Set up the car seat in the back seat of your vehicle using a seat belt or the vehicle’s lower anchors.
Your vehicle owner’s manual will give you more specific instructions on how to install a car seat. After following the instructions for correct installation, check to see that the base of the car seat is secure and doesn’t move.
Adjust the car seat so that your baby sits in a semi-reclined position. Your baby shouldn’t be slouching in the seat or have his or her head falling forward. Airway obstruction can also occur if you sit your baby upright in a car seat.
Set Out When Baby Normally Sleeps
Try to keep your baby as close as possible to his or her usual sleep schedule. Leave in the very early hours of the morning before the daylight breaks and your baby is normally asleep. If you plan the timing right, he or she may sleep during the first several hours of the trip. Take advantage of the time to get as many miles as you can behind you.
Make the Most of Rest Stops
Plan on taking plenty of breaks so that the drive between stops isn’t too long. Don’t be surprised if your baby gets fussy and cries after being strapped in a car seat for too long.
Stop at places that aren’t crowded to give your baby and yourself a needed break. Hold and play with your baby for a time after feeding before you set out on the road again. Rest stops at parks and picnic areas are good places to spend relaxed time with your baby.
Whether your interstate move is due to employee, government, or military relocation, you take care of transporting your family and let the moving services of Bekins Van Lines, Inc. handle the rest.