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September 24, 2007



I have travelled extensively with little people. Even took my oldest to South Africa when he was 3 months old! Here are a few of my hot tips. Travel at night so he will sleep the whole way. Or another tried & true thing(not just by me), baby cold medicine. Knocks 'em right out! He may turn out to be a great traveller. Don't be too hard on yourself, you will never know if it was the car or not. Maybe he wasn't feeling well and could have cried like that at home too.

Gwen in Bowmanville

Drugging them for travel sounds horrible, I know. I also know it works. I live in Canada near Toronto and for the occasional 4 hour drive to Ottawa to visit with my husband's family, we'd give my daughter children's Gravol (it's an antinauseant), which knocked her out cold for most of the trip.

Don't be too hard on yourself. Challenges to their will build character. You knew that, despite what he wanted, the right thing to do was to keep him safe in his car carrier. And, while I am quite sure he was very annoyed about the situation, he was healthy and happy for the visit.

Be patient, Mum, he'll grow out of this, too.

Kathy in KS

I'm so sorry, that must have been so hard on you. I have to agree with the others, when it was my first, it was all..."Oh, I'll NEVER do that with MY child" Then along comes the next one and most of that is thrown out the window. But, there's virtually no way to know for sure what was his problem. Personally, I've never ridden in the back seat with them; I get motion sickness. I have, however, managed to nurse a baby while they were still fastened in the car seat. Cool, huh? Magic boobies to the rescue! Or, I let them suck on my finger. It could have been that he was just bored. We always tried to schedule the trips to start right around naptime anyway, and played soothing music and when all else fails, a little crown royal helps. That's what we used for teething when that stupid purple gel stuff didn't work. Helps mom too.


Amtrak can be TERRIBLE for delays, depending on where you are (East of the Mississippi seems to have fewer problems). However - for me (traveling alone and without a child) it is THE BEST mode of travel, bar none.

You can get compartments for overnight trips - they are more expensive but not more expensive than flying, and IMHO, totally worth it. You get a little room where you sit during the day, a bed (not super comfortable but still a bed) at night, the corridors are big enough to comfortably walk down, there are enough bathrooms, there's lots of stuff to see. I think when your son gets older he'd really enjoy it; little kids seem to be entranced by train travel. Even babies seem to like it; I've seen lots of sleeping happy babies on the train.

It's a lot more humane, I think, than airlines are these days. Even WITH the delays.

I remember riding on the Ohio Turnpike with my family when I was a kid and hating it because it was so long and so flat and so boring and there was nowhere to stop and it seemed like FOREVER from Hudson to Toledo (that was the route we took). We always stopped for a meal or at least ice cream in Toledo when we got off, because my parents knew my brother and I were about to lose our minds.


All my girls went through the rough traveler phase. It will pass. My first suggestion would be to avoid the toll road at all costs. Being able to stop soon after he gets fussy could make all the difference in his ride. During good weather, have a picnic blanket in the car so he can crawl around during a rest stop. My oldest is 16, the youngest is almost 8 and I still pack a ball, bubbles and a frisbee for our 8+hr trips to MI. The exercise really helps calm them down for more riding.

He'll get the hang of it. Just like everything else, traveling with a baby takes time, patience and more patience. Hang in there.


I think driving in the car is better than riding the train. At least you won't drive other passengers crazy. The idea to avoid toll roads is a good one, so you can stop whenever needed.

On the yarn front, I didn't even know an Opal Rainforest 3 collection was coming out! They look pretty. (I had to Google them after your teaser photo!) But I don't need any more sock yarn! Must. Knit. From. Stash. . . . .
But Christmas is coming!


When they were babies (2 months and 1 yr 8 mo) we took a longish (6 hour) east coast road trip. Both of them were miserable - I found a little ice pack from the cooler at the back of their necks in the car seat helped (wrap it in a washcloth so its not too cold). And also a cooled-down pacifier (keep several in the cooler). Eventually we got out at every possible stop and walked them around and then got back in. It was nearly 9 hours before we made it.
Car trips will be longer forever more now. As they grew up one of my kids got better at travelling (read: less annoying) and one did not. Amtrak is fine for us; but for car trips, even at age 10 and 8, I stop and walk them around at every rest stop. It makes the trip longer, but everyone is less crabby.


Starting at about age 6 weeks, I've been loading my kids in the car for 5-8 hour drives from Boston to upstate NY. Often doing these drives alone. Some people think I'm crazy, but I think the "early and often" routine has helped. Both kids (now 5.5 & 3.5) have had their ups and downs. I've used the cold medicine trick for plane rides, but found that planned stops and some calm breathing, on my part, during the infant screaming fits usually does the trick. I would recommend not sitting in the back seat. I think it might just frustrate James to see you but not be held by you. My biggest trick for the infant stage was a huge bag of toys by my side. I'd keep throwing a toy back into the car seat when the baby got board and fussy. When the bag was empty, we would stop for a snuggle and snack. And I would just plan to stop every 2 hours. We certainly don't make any land speed records, but we get there and we try to enjoy the time together.


My 2yo hasn't been much problem with car trips (even 14 hour car trips), but a 2 hour flight and she screams the entire time.

Next time, get a portable DVD player and a stack of baby einstein dvds. Especially Mozart and Bach.


I still cringe when I think how it took me a year and a half to discover that my first daughter actually WAS car sick and should have been taking Dramamine. It wasn't until she actually threw up all over her car seat tray that we figured it out. She was just miserable enough to cry and fret. The first 20-40 minutes were ok, but then..... And even worse, it took nearly a year to figure it out with my second one! She still can't sit in the back seat for any length of time, and she is 26.


Ohhh, you have all my sympathy!!! I traveled with my family from Kansas to Detroit and my baby sister cried the whole way! No kidding... the whole way. 30 years later, she is a great traveler by plane, car or train!

B. Rickman

Yep to all that was said. I have done all that was suggested, from putting them to sleep with medication and driving at night, (which was the very best when my two were that age) to toys, diversions, stopping, cherrios, the whole gammet.

I also advise NOT sitting in the back seat. He has to get used to entertaining himself. He is off his schedule anyway and unsure about just what is going on. Taveling at night and the medicine will keep him from being afraid. Car sounds, the noise passing cars make, heat from the sun and a change in schedule can make young babies upset.

Don't be so hard on yourself. You did nothing wrong to him. He has to learn how to travel with you and you with him. Find out if he is motion sick. Find out what entertains him. Get to know him instead of thinking you are the problem. You have to travel and there are no easy ways to do it. The train sucks and stinks!! You would be doing him a great diservice if you take Amtrak!!



I'll chime in for not sitting in the back seat unless he is already upset. We took the OH turnpike from western Pa to Detroit last month with a 3yo & a 14 mo old. First real travel for the younger. The 4.5 hour drive was closer to 6. We started out real early in the day and fed them breakfast in the car. Made the longest push at that point. After the first rest stop we had to stop every 1.5-2 hours for them to move about. Little ones are unpredictable. Sometimes it is easier if they are traveling during regular nap times so they sleep for at least part of the trip. They will also be more upset about being hot (esp in rear facing seats) then cold. And unless you are driving through the night do plan on the drive taking longer then it would have pre-kids.


We still refer to a weekend "away" w/ our oldest daughter when she was 6 months old as "the weekend from hell." It is the Gold Standard of nasty travel experiences and it says volumes that in the 20 years since, we've never had a worse weekend. I think that child wailed for 72 hours straight.

OTH, we took a train trip from Seattle to LA when our daughters were 5, 2, and 3 months and it was the best trip ever! The girls were darling and well-behaved and charmed everyone in sight. We had two sets of hands for their needs and it was actually relaxing for US. Highly highly recommend it!

One more thing--for ten years our minivan was nicknamed The FussBus. I made my husband stop in the middle of a mountain pass in the middle of the night because I was about to Lose.My.Mind. It circumvented child abuse just getting out of the car for five minutes.

The really good news? We can laugh about these incidents now!! And, we also have many fond memories of travel w/ the kids. Just keep your expectations low and your stops many.

Good luck!


My kids are now 22 and almost 21. We traveled alot when they were little. Our families lived over 2 hours away in different directions. There were some bad trips but they became good travlers because we did take them all the time. I also nevered sat in the back seat. It does get better remember the baby won't remember the bad trip. When they got older I kept snacks, new cheep toys and other diversions to give them along the way.

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