Max no. hours/day in car for 16 mo? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 09-04-2010, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
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We are planning a trip for the spring, and I'm trying to decide realistically the max number of hours per day reasonable for traveling with a 16 mo. He doesn't enjoy the carseat now, but I'm hoping that will lessen now that he's getting more accustomed to it (in taking and picking up sister from school everyday). He'll be walking by then if that matters.

Thoughts? Experiences?

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#2 of 12 Old 09-04-2010, 08:53 PM
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At least 2x/yr we've driven from Austin, TX to El Paso since before the kids were born--I guess it was a 12 or 14 hour day? I think about 550 miles. Longer than it would take just two adults. It's not a fun day, but for just one day, it's doable.
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#3 of 12 Old 09-04-2010, 09:38 PM
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last year, when dd was almost 17 months, we made the drive from central pa to central al... i think it's about a 14 hour drive. we did it in two days and just planned on getting as far as we could on day one. and we made it into tennessee... i think about 9-10 hours of driving. she was fine. we just brought lots of snacks and toys and the portable dvd player. we stopped every few 2 hours or so so she could run around and i spent a lot of time in the backseat with her so she had some company. we really could have gone further but my husband was exhausted from doing most of the driving.
the 5 hours we drove the next day were not as pleasant... she had obviously had enough of the car on day one but the trip was doable and we'll be making it again in a few weeks.

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#4 of 12 Old 09-05-2010, 12:56 PM
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We drove from Michigan to Utah when DD was 15 months old, and did it in three days there, two days back.

DD slept or looked out the window most of the time. We don't have a DVD player. She was RF (still is) and was very comfortable and entertained herself.

Two mistakes we made - I sat next to DD in the back seat for a few hours, thinking I would keep her company or take a nap. Nope! She kicked me until I gave up and went back up front. We also turned her FF when we headed east, to keep the sun out of her eyes. That child was so overstimulated by new sights (windshield, GPS, us, then the lights on the dash when it was dark) and sounds (our normal conversation that before she tuned out) that she didn't sleep ALL DAY. Not even a nap. We turned her back at about 10pm that night.

Your DC are more resilient than you think! Best of luck!

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#5 of 12 Old 09-05-2010, 01:05 PM
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DD at 17 months could do about 8 to 9 hours in the car a day before she was completely done. The 8 to 9 hours did include stops to get out and stretch and such, so closer to 7 hours driving time. She was very clear on our trip after that time period that she was done and wanted out of the car now!

We just did this about 2 weeks ago for my brother's wedding, it is a 12 hour drive with no stops to where he was married, so we did 2 days there and 2 days back splitting it to around 7 hours driving the first day, 8 to 9 in the car, and then 5 hours driving the second day, and on the way back did the same.

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#6 of 12 Old 09-05-2010, 03:21 PM
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Wow I'm surprised at how well all the pp's kids have done with such long car rides!

DS is 19mos and the longest trip we've managed was about 4 hours. He's a frequent nurser so the 4 hours takes closer to 6 hours. I wouldn't even attempt anything longer than 6-7 hours (and then, only if absolutely necessary) but DS is very high-needs so maybe that colors my judgement...

Anyway, DS hated the car seat 'til 9mos old when we got him out of the bucket into a bigger RF seat. I think this is also around the same time his constant spitting up subsided so that also may explain why he was happier. Anyway, so hopefully your DS will start enjoying the car more soon!

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#7 of 12 Old 09-06-2010, 08:54 PM
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Every kid is different, I guess! My DS is 16.5 months and can handle an hour in the car before starting to lose it. He doesn't get absorbed into DVDs and he doesn't fall asleep in the car unless it's nighttime. I'm really hoping he outgrows this stage soon!

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#8 of 12 Old 09-06-2010, 11:32 PM
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I took ds 6 hours a few weeks ago. It was ok on the way there but the way back was awfulllll. Next time we go for a long trip (probably at the end October - 14 hours each way) we will definitely be purchasing a portable dvd player. I will also plan to take an extra day driving if need be. I don't want to make him hate the car forever.

Doula mama to dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08) and expecting (Apr '17)
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#9 of 12 Old 09-07-2010, 11:13 AM
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I was going to mention a tip that helped us go longer in the car. We put DS in O/N (huggies) diapers. They hold more pee so if we get a good stretch of travel going then we don't have to worry about leaks!

DVD player is a must. Not sure if you are into "Signing Time" videos, but my DS loves them and he could watch them over and over. Great learning opportunity and then you can practice after you watch them.

I also purchased a tray for his carseat. DS loved it on our trip to FL - he could prop his books on it and play with his cars. He would put his snacks on it too. We didn't attempt coloring as I was afraid he might color on the door.

I always sit in the backseat with DS and have a bag of toys at my disposal. I purchase new toys and books for road trips. Be sure to save some of the "new" toys/books for the ride back.
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#10 of 12 Old 09-07-2010, 11:40 AM
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totally depends on the kid. mine never liked the carseat for very long until we turned him forwards, even then/now he doesn't tolerate longer than 2-4 hours.

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#11 of 12 Old 09-07-2010, 03:43 PM
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DD is 22 mo and the longest we've done is 5 hours in one day. We did that by leaving at 5am, driving for 2.5 hours so she mostly slept, stopping somewhere for breakfast and a couple of hours break and snack, then driving again for another 2.5 hours during which she napped a bit and was awake a bit. Or alternatively setting off after lunch, driving for a few hours to include her nap, stopping somewhere for dinner and change into jammies, then another couple of hours driving from her bedtime onwards. I wouldn't want to spend more than about an hour with her awake in the car in one go as she'd be miserable and screaming, even with copious snacks and a bag of toys to go through.
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#12 of 12 Old 09-08-2010, 12:48 PM
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Agreed that it totally depends on the kid. DD can only handle 2-3hours before getting whiney, even now at 3.5. When she was smaller even that was a stretch. We ended up flying her out to see my parents last year because of this, my mom came to get her and we drove out (30hr drive).
DS on the other hand, he can ride forever, quite happily.

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