1) Great Car Seats
Car seats vary in weight, age limit, height restrictions, safety rating, usage, and more. Picking the right car seat or booster seat for your child at their stage of life is critical. Our family has loved the Graco car seat for both our boys as infants – I found it to be light, safe, affordable, durable and easy to attach to its base and both our strollers (Graco and the City Select Lux with the adapter). As they have grown, we have landed on the Graco 4Ever and the Graco Slim. Whatever your choice of car seat is – ensure it is a thoughtful for one for your child’s needs, your budget and it’s longevity in your family/vehicle!
2) Baby Mirrors
Having mirrors attached to the headrest of the seat holding your rear-facing infant or toddler seat is so clutch! Are they sleeping? Are they breathing? Did they spill their snack all over themselves? Having ‘eyes’ on them while you are safely transporting them to and fro is just such an efficient and effective add to any vehicle.
3) A Basket for Toys
We have an open basket between both captains seats specifically for toys-on-the-go. I rotate toys and books every few weeks, and the basket comes in so handy! It is easy to keep things “organized” (or rather, at least in one place) and allows me to effortlessly grab items for all that backseat fun-having! An organizer works well too!
Having bandaids, antibacterial cream, alcohol wipes, and the other usual suspects on hand is key. I like to keep a little thing of gauze, a pair of latex medical gloves, and Benadryl for children handy too. However, if you have anything more serious happening in your family like asthma and lethal allergies – consider keeping inhalers, antihistamines, epipens, etc. in your kit.
Having all the tools in your personalized tool kit can be a lifesaver. There have been plenty of times those random snack bars, a trash bag and spare hand wipes have been critical. Having them stashed in your vehicle for that one-off time can be super helpful in a time of need.
6) A To-Go Potty
If you are potty training or have already crossed into the world of potty-trained (young) kids, having a spare toilet (or this) for long car rides is something to consider. Being able to find a good spot on the side of the road can be much easier in an ‘emergency’ toilet situation than finding a rest stop and hauling everyone out of the car in time. I find nothing wrong with a quick pee-on-a-tree kind of thing, but not every kid is cool with it and not every environment is quite right.
7) A Towel
Yes, a towel. This one is random, but it seems to be a clutch item. Have your least favorite towel stashed away in your car. Just do it. You’ll be thankful when you need it. Changing diapers in a parking lot, wiping down slides when they are still wet after a rain, wrapping up a kid who fell (or jumped) in a cold puddle, or covering up vomit on a car seat…. A towel for every occasion.
8) Spare Clothing
It is not everyday we need a spare set of clothing whipped out after a car ride or playdate, but it is not completely unusual either. Having to make a 30-minute detour to a Ross Dress for Less after a toddler gets car sick is super un-fun (and has happened to us). Now we never go anywhere without a spare set of attire for both kids! I happen to love Primary for so many of my kid’s staple clothing!
9) Car Sunglasses
Need I say more, really? Aren’t we all just looking for keys, sunglasses and sanity? I am always misplacing my actual sunglasses and hopping in and out of the car looking for them as I try desperate to get out of the driveway with a car full of little humans in a rush. Keeping an affordable, spare set in my car has come in really handy and has prevented a lot of lateness in my life.
10) Window Shades
Some cars come with built-in window shades, but if your vehicle doesn’t have this already installed, consider it. Keep the sun out of babies eyes if you can! My kiddos are always complaining if the glare is hitting them hard, luckily we have shades we can pull up during those key times!