How Soon Can a Newborn Travel by Car (Complete Guide)

newborn in car

When I gave birth to my baby, he had some complications, and we had to travel him twice a day every day. This made me worried about him because he was too young to travel; however, I was reassured by the doctor that my baby could travel because our house was just 1o-minute away from the hospital. But he also gave me warnings on taking my baby on a long trip.

But how soon can a newborn travel long distances by car? Your newborn will be good to travel long distances as soon as he gets out of the hospital, provided that precautions will be observed. You see, it’s not about the ride, the keyword here is your baby’s fragile immune system. 

Your baby has just come out of the comfort of your womb, and he is still adapting to the outside world. His lungs and immune system are not yet fully developed. And because your baby’s immune system is not as strong as the adults’, he is weak against bacteria and viruses.

This is why you have to take all the precautions for your baby. To help you determine the basics of taking your baby in a ride, here are the answers to some of the questions that you might be asking for your newborn.

How Long Can a Newborn be in a Car Seat?

Studies show that a newborn can only withstand a car seat for two hours. It is advisable to put your baby in the back seat, right in the center, with a rear-facing seat, away from the airbag.

The first thing to consider here is your baby’s protection against impacts. His head is still vulnerable, especially with his soft spot, and taking him to a rear-facing seat will keep his head so as neck and spine aligned during impact.

You may also want to check your baby from time to time because when traveling, he is prone to suffocation since his lung isn’t fully developed yet.

If the travel is really long and you’re worried about the comfort of your baby, take a five-minute stop every 30 minutes or when your baby needs to be fed. Remember, newborns are always hungry.

When traveling with your baby, it is also important to make sure that the clothing of your newborn is comfortable for him, so it will be easier to change clothes and diaper. You may also want to play some soothing music that will help your baby to be calm during the ride.

Can Newborns Take Road Trips?

Unless your doctor tells you that your newborn is not fit to take road trips, it will be okay to take him. But because his immune system is vulnerable, it is a good thing that you will avoid the crowd during stops. You see, he is prone to bacteria and viruses, so airborne diseases can easily be transmitted to him.

It is also crucial to prepare the things that you need to carry for your road trip ahead of time, so you don’t miss anything.

And be sure to get your baby car seat. Taking your baby to a road trip can be stressful both for you and your baby, but having a car seat for him will definitely alleviate this stress.

If you don’t have one yet, I would recommend you to visit where your baby’s needs are always available. It is a good place to buy self-help books about what’s the best beets for your baby, or the latest Dwight Schrute baby and Dunder Mifflin apparels that will absolutely rock your baby’s look. Baby back seats are also available here.

Along the way, inevitable stops may happen like diaper leaks and sudden poops, and of course, your baby’s cry for your milk. To better prepare for these instances.

Best Car Seat for Babies

If there’s one thing you cannot forget when taking your newborn to along trip is a car seat, so here are three baby car seats that have gained good reputations in Amazon.

Diono Radian 3RXT Convertible Car Seat (link to amazon)

Chicco NextFit Zip Max Convertible Car Seat(link to amazon): Just like the Graco Extend2Fit, Chicco NextFit Zip Max also comes with 50 lbs rear-facing and extended legroom. It also comes with a lower anchor, which gives room for easier car seat installation.

Maxi-Cosi Pria 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat(link to amazon): This car seat has a multimode that allows you to have it in three modes: rear-facing, forward-facing, and high back booster.

Related Questions

What should I bring when taking my baby on a long trip?

Lack of preparation of the things you need for your travel will cost you a lot of hassle, so it is important to prioritize what needs to be brought ahead of time. Say, you’re going to travel by the morning, have everything prepared a night before. This will save you a lot of cramming before the travel. You will need stuff like:

  • Extra diapers. Newborns poop a lot and pee a lot. You will never know when he will cry for the coming of his poop or pee, but you can always be prepared, just in case.
  • Changing pad. So it will be easier for you to change your baby’s diaper when needed.
  • Plastic bags where you could put your used diaper. This one is most commonly forgotten, yet most remembered when looking for something where you could put your soiled diaper. Two or three plastic bags will suffice for the whole ride.
  •  Extra clothing for your baby. You may want to add some pairs of clothing for you.
  • CD/DVD. You might want to play some music to help your baby settle while traveling.
  • Hand sanitizing gels. Your baby is so vulnerable that you’ll never want to give him the germs you’ve taken from driving.
  • First aid kit. You’ll never know what’s to come. It will give you no harm to prepare.
  • A companion. Okay, a companion isn’t stuff, actually, but Let’s face it; it will lessen the difficulty of bringing a newborn with you. It is also discouraged to leave your baby alone in the back seat. Safety first. This is the time to bring your husband or friend. This is also a good time to have a family bonding and giving yourself a break from the ‘stressful’ first nights (and days) of motherhood.

 You may also want to consider these safety tips when considering baby car seats:

  • Use a car seat that fits your baby. Baby car seats will give you a lot of offers and convenience but choose which you think will fit your baby and is comfortable for him.
  • Follow the installation guide properly. Sometimes, procrastination really strikes when we think of following a long manual, but it’s better to be careful than sorry.
  • Avoid using used car seats. What we’re considering here is the safety of your baby. If a car seat had been in a serious crash and you are to reuse it, there is a big chance of taking your newborn to a risk. However, it is still safe to use pre-loved car seats when they still have the instructions and label, aren’t expired yet or have no serious damage and missing parts.
  • Install your baby car seat at the center back seat. It is recommended that you put your newborn at the back seat, but not just anywhere there. Place it at the center. The thing that we avoid here is the danger he might be getting against the car’s active airbag. It is also advised to keep your newborn away from the door to avoid serious injuries when an unexpected crash happens.

While baby car seats are safe to use when traveling, the importance of proper car seat installation is more often than not neglected. Actually, studies show that in America alone, 95% of parents install their car seats incorrectly. We have to give the utmost attention that our babies to give them the best experience out of our long travels.

Check your state’s law. No matter how safe we think it could be to take your child to a ride, different states have their own law with regards to how soon your child could travel. There are also specific rules and regulations that you need to follow.

We all want what’s best for our baby, so it’s when it comes to planning to take your baby to a long trip; it’s proper to make the necessary precautions and considerations so his safety will not be compromised while having the best of the travel.


Hi there, I am Monica mother of one and this is my blog. I share some useful tips about pregnancy and specially parenting. xoxo

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