While baby’s first Christmas is a truly exciting time, for those travelling away from home with their little one in tow for the first time can also be a little bit daunting – so here’s a helpful check list to ensure you have a safe and happy festive season.
It is actually quite easy to travel with very young babies as there is very little that they need in the first few months. Pack a changing bag with clothes, nappies and a travel cot (if you have a carrycot this is ideal for short stays away); and if you are bottle feeding, then you will need to remember bottles, formula and a steriliser.
Most babies will sleep quite happily during a long car journey. However, during the festive season there are many more cars on the roads – and consequently a greater risk of accidents. It is imperative that your baby’s car seat is correctly installed. Ensure you have followed the manufacturer’s instructions – and if you are using your car seat in a hire car or taxi, make sure you are familiar with how to install it safely.
Babies under six weeks old should not be left in a car seat for more than 30 minutes without lifting them out to allow their airways to fully open and raise oxygen levels. Older babies should not be left in a car seat for more than two hours without a 15-minute break (and bear in mind, if you have travelled and moved the car seat onto pram wheels – the baby is still inside the car seat). Make sure you allow for plenty of stops on your journey – and even if your baby is fast asleep, don’t be tempted to leave them in the car seat for longer than the recommended period.
Travelling by air
While you don’t have to buy a plane seat for a child under two, if you can afford it, you will have a more relaxed journey if your baby has its own space. You may be able to use your own car seat – ask your airline for more information. Also, for younger babies, it is helpful to have a good baby carrier such as WeMadeMe so that you have your hands free once you have handed your pushchair over to put into the hold. For babies over six months, it is worth considering purchasing a specific travel pushchair such as the Roma Capsule Stroller which weighs less than 5kg and packs into a tiny bag that you can take onto (most) airplanes as hand luggage.
When you arrive
The most common accidents for babies are cot related; or involve falls from infant seats, highchairs or changing tables; and burns from hot water. Be extra vigilant if you are using unfamiliar products. Never leave your baby unattended and ensure you use safety straps provided.
When staying with relatives, be extra careful and preferably use your own travel cot or carrycot. If using one provided, give it a good check to ensure that it is assembled properly with no wobbles or gaps. If you have a Little Chick London Comfort Nest, don’t forget to take this along as it folds for easy travelling and provides a familiar, safe environment for your baby to nap whilst you are away. If you use a sleep aid at home such as Little Chick London’s Twinkle Lights bedtime soother, don’t forget to pack this too, as the more familiar you make bedtime the easier your nights will be.
For toddlers and pre-school children where a cot may not be available or suitable, Little Chick London’s Inflatable Bed Guards provides a great solution allowing little ones to sleep safely in a regular bed without the risk of falling out. It packs into a tiny carry case and when inflated and popped underneath the bottom sheet provides a soft and safe barrier.
Be extra vigilant
Remember, your friends or relative’s homes may not be geared up for young babies; and during the Christmas period may potentially have other unsuspecting hazards (such as decorations, nuts, small novelties and sweets). Once your baby can roll over or shuffle to grasp things within reach, ensure that the floors and areas around them are clear of clutter. Even if your baby hasn’t moved yet, if it’s around four or five months old – there is always a first time!
Finally, however much your little one loves its new toy – don’t be tempted to attach anything to its cot with a string or cord which could potentially cause a strangulation hazard.
Like all new mums and dads, you have probably already grown those ever-important eyes in the back of your head – so with a little extra vigilance this festive season, you can ensure your baby’s first Christmas is one to remember for all the right reasons.
Merry Christmas everyone – and wishing you all a very happy new year!
Written by Christine Scippo