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Night driving with Toddler

Johnstown, New York
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Night driving with Toddler

Hello everyone...Just looking on epinions on driving at night with a toddler. We leave for the Beach middle of August.. My youngest will be 15 months at that time. We are making the 15 hour drive from upstate NY. we are now seriously thinking of leaving around 8:00pm at night so my daughter can sleep all night, and we can make the beach in one shot, instead of leaving in the morning, and stoping at hotel halfway down..we will be leaving on a Sunday night, so should beat DC traffic.

Some questions, Has anyone else traveled all night with a young one? and if so, how was the experience with the car seat? Im worried that she wont be able to sleep comfotable for long sitting up, and I dont want to drive for two hours, then have to find motel(I will if it bothers her). Do kids that age normally sleep well all night in cars? or am I better off just leaving in the morning and doing trip in two days? Last question, as we usually do the 81 route to virginia, if I leave at night, I rather drive the Jersey way down and 95 thru DC, as more stops along that route then the 81 route at night, how is this route at night? All epinions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Pete

Maryland
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1. Re: Night driving with Toddler

Yes I have traveled with children that age and younger. 15 months old s/he should have a front facing car seat. I don't know what type you have but purchase one of those neck supports or head rests. Also recline the car seat if possible so they aren't sitting straight up. Our trip is about 8 hours and we never stop. Also we drove to Orlando from MD (14-15 hours) and didn't need to find a hotel. The baby will be fine.

Most babies actually sleep better in cars. That was one of my remedies when the baby wouldn't go to sleep at night (and the vacuum). Just when you stop for restroom breaks or gas, take the baby out and stretch them a bit and let them walk around a little just like you.

At night the 95 drive isn't bad at all. You didn't say what day of the week but currently there are some projects that may close the beltway in PG County just prior to the Wilson bridge but if you aren't coming before June then I don't think it will be an issue because they only close on Friday nights or saturday nights and they are supposed to be done soon with that. The drive on 81 is tough in the middle of the night. It's dark. And less stops along the way.

Don't worry about the baby. I don't know what type of vehicle you will be driving but when we have used cars with the kids, we just stop when necessary and we stretch. If having a minivan or SUV then let the spouse/girlfriend/whatever sit in the back if the baby gets restless. I suggest bringing all of your child's favorite snacks my baby liked those Gerber fruit puffs or cheerios. Also give the baby the bottle prior to you leaving and have a full belly and clean diaper. Also, I am an expert at changing diapers while the baby is still in the car seat and no need to stop or take baby out. Also I always take a little cooler with me as well for any snacks that need to be chilled.

Did you have any other questions?

Repentigny, Canada
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2. Re: Night driving with Toddler

Hello,

We did it twice with young kids, once to Myrtle Beach with a baby (18 months) and last fall to Orlando with a stop at Florence,sc with a 9months and 3 1/2 years old kids. We are from Montreal then left at around 6pm, took the 87,287/95 this way when you leave at the times you are planning, you will be able to pass all the major cities at night and the last one (Richmond) early in the morning without traffic.I don't think that it worth it to take the 81. Both trips the kids sleeps very well ( better than in their beds... :) ) Personnely, I think that it's better for them to travel at night.

We are also goind at MB middle of August and we probably do it again at night. Have nice vacations !

Ridgewood, New...
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for Kiawah Island, Charleston
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3. Re: Night driving with Toddler

Been there and done that!

Depending upon your child, the baby will probably sleep just fine. Your main worry will be your own fatigue.

Here is how I think the trip will go ...

From upstate, you are probably two or three hours north on NYC? From Ridgewood, NJ, a NYC suburb, we figure the trip takes 14 hours including the necessary stops for the drivers; so I think that your estimate of 15 hours is cutting the trip a bit short. Add another two hours to your travel plan.

Leaving late, you will avoid the worst traffic. You will be bored along I-87, but you will be pumped for the trip. The long, dark NJ turnpike will be even more boring; but you will perk up for the lights and the ever-present traffic from Baltimore, through Washington, to Richmond.

After Richmond, in the early morning, the road be fairly empty of cars, but with the every present large, scary trucks. It will start to get light, so baby will wake up and be uncomfortable. You will need to stop and re-group for the rest of the journey.

If I were you, I would break the trip into two days. Book a motel between Wilmington and Baltimore. (There are some less expensive places in this area than there are from Baltimore to Richmond.) Try to leave the motel very early to get through the B-more to Washington commuter traffic before the rush. After Washington, you are going against the traffic, and you by-pass Richmond, there will be no problem.

In any case, take a thermos of coffee.

Charleston, South...
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4. Re: Night driving with Toddler

Been a while since driving with little ones, but i know that a little benadryl(i mean just a little bit) usually just sent my daughter into night night pretty quick! But the previous posters are correct, most kids do well with driving at night, better than us adults! If you have a portable dvd player take that with you with her favorite movies. We are taking our friends with us this year and they have a one year old and a four year old, so we are leaving early of the morning, and taking LOTS of movies, toys and such to keep them occupied. We are also going to be giving out "prizes" every hour to the 4yr old(just inexpensive things like beach balls,floaties, sand toys that we are getting from the dollar store) to keep her happy. We dont have the drive like you do-ours is just 6hrs-but you should do fine.

New York
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5. Re: Night driving with Toddler

i'm also from upstate new york and 15 hours is cutting the trip 2 hours early. It takes w/ stops about 17. I'm not sure of what part of upstate your coming from. Night driving sucks for the adults. But is better for kids. They sleep all through the night. Like the other person suggested take toys and if you have a portable dvd player it is most helpful. The big trucks is always what makes me nervous. Either way you go, you should be fine.

Johnstown, New York
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6. Re: Night driving with Toddler

Im from the Fulton Co area... about 5 miles south of the adirondack park border. We went to the beach in 2005 and drove the 88-81, then thru gettysburg, then to dc and 95 way, and I belive it took us around 15 hours. Maybe it was alittle longer, as we did make quite a few stops then, and only drove during the day....I dont mind driving at night, as I plan on staying up the night before, and sleeping the whole day we leave(hopefully not up all day with exitement..LOL). Thanks for all the replys, and keep the coming. epinions are great. Pete

Fulton, MS
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7. Re: Night driving with Toddler

We always drive at night, even now and our kids are 15, and 8 years old. It is just so much easier, not as much of the "When are we going to be there?" I also try to "cat nap" some, because the kids have slept all night and are ready to go when we get to the motel. We go do something and let my husband get a little nap.

We'll be in Myrtle Beach the first week of June....can't wait!!!!

Myrtle Beach, South...
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8. Re: Night driving with Toddler

I think another poster mentioned it earlier, but I would be concerned about your safety. If you're normally used to being awake during those hours you should be fine but otherwise it might be very difficult. 95 is a LONG and BORING road which can be hypnotic at that hour of the night.

My other question is what happens when you arrive and your toddler is wide awake and it's time for you to rest?

Myrtle Beach
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9. Re: Night driving with Toddler

My only suggestion to you is to be prepared to not get into your room at your hotel or condo until 3 or 4pm. So many people do that very thing, drive all night and arrive early in the am tired and grumpy with small children only to find out that their room will not be available for many hours. I don't think enough people consider that when planning their drive they just assume that their hotel will get them in early. Many MB hotels are full all summer long and checkout is generally not until 11am and housekeeping has to rush just to get the rooms ready on time. Unfortunately we hear the "I drove all night to get here I'm so tired and I have small children" thing about 20 times a day during the summer and instead of feeling bad for you we just think you didn't plan well. Also the ruder you are to the desk staff when you arrive the less likely they are to try to help you. That's not addressed to you specifically Pete just early arrivals in general.

New York
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10. Re: Night driving with Toddler

I'm from Gloversville, NY. not sure if your familiar with that area or not. Just keep in mind like the post ahead of me said, hotels are not always available for early check-in if you do get here earlier. I think you should be okay. Just be careful and make sure you have a good rest that day before driving because accidents are bound to happen if your not attentive. I wish you guys a safe trip. And I hope you enjoy your stay while your here.

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