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Travelling with babies: what you’ll need

One of the challenges every parent faces is how to get baby from A to B, more-or-less on time, with all the bits intact. Much-travelled father-of-two Gavin Evans offers some suggestions on buggies, car seats and every other way you can carry junior around...

Buggies and prams

Your most basic piece of equipment is the buggy. You’ll need one that’s highly manoeuvrable, quick to fold, easy to store and which can keep your baby snug and dry.

The best are adjustable (for lying or sitting up), all-terrain three-wheelers, with pneumatic tyres for a smooth ride, rain cover and shopping basket.

Also useful are the front pouch or sling for smaller babies, and baby backpack for when they can comfortably hold their heads up (look for one that’s comfortable, safe, easy to use with plenty of pocket space for extras).

 

Bus

You dig around for your ticket as you sprint for the No 27, scoop baby out of buggy, which you niftily fold while holding them on one arm, and rapidly store in the baggage hold. Lo-and-behold, a hoodied youth leaps to his feet and invites you to take his place. As if…

Tube and train

First challenge is the escalator or stairs. Some men help mums with buggies but they never help dads. So you’ll get used to doing it alone. You can either:

  • carry baby and buggy together, or
  • do the bus routine with buggy in one arm and baby in the other. This is why backpacks can be useful as an alternative. As with the bus, it gets (slightly) easier with practice.

If the carriage is relatively empty you may be able to keep baby in buggy. But if packed you’ll need to fold it. Find a seat as close to your storage place as possible.

Car

A safety-approved baby car seat correctly secured with the seatbelts is essential. Make sure your baby’s firmly strapped in – not matter how short the journey or how much they objects. Avoid road rage, breaking too suddenly and driving like a maniac.

 

Bicycle

Green way to go, great example and all, but you have to be oh-so-careful. Avoid rainy days, busy roads and rush-hour. Two essentials are a well-designed child bike seat (fitted over the back wheel) and a baby-sized helmet. When hey reach about five you can try a front seat (fitted onto your crossbar).

Plane

Babies can be less than a delight on aeroplanes, particularly on long-haul flights. Their rhythms are disrupted, they don’t like taking off and landing, they get sore ears and tend to poo at the wrong moment (just when you’re told to remain seated and fasten your seatbelt) - or yell their heads off, or vomit over you or the cross man in the adjoining seat.

But you can make life easier by:

  • informing the airline you’re travelling with an infant (you’ll be fast-tracked through the queue);
  • requesting a special Britax baby seat in the front (for parents with babies) and carrycot, taking turns (if with your partner). When you finally land, you’ll need a long sleep. Fat chance…

Dad Partners

Family Matters Institute Dept. for Education Step Change Children's Legal Centre
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