How to Keep Your Baby Moving While on the Go

Tips for traveling both by plane and by car


Published:

Photo courtesy of Kakigori Studio/Shutterstock.com

Traveling provides exciting opportunities to visit friends and family, explore new places or just get away from daily life for a while. However, throw an infant or a toddler into the mix, and suddenly the quick weekend trip to visit relatives can turn into a daunting task filled with lots of gear and limited opportunity for your baby to move freely. When planning a trip, we don’t always realize how travel itself, as well as being in a new place, can limit your baby’s opportunity to move around and feel uncontained. This is especially true of very young babies who aren’t mobile yet. 

Whether you are planning a quick trip into town or an excursion across the world, here are some tips to keep your baby moving while you are away from home. 

 

By Plane or By Car

If your trip involves driving, a car seat is a confining must for your little one. Take breaks at rest areas with ample outdoor space. Even if you only have a few minutes, your baby will appreciate having some time to stretch out on a blanket, roll around or just enjoy a change in his surroundings. 

If you’re traveling by plane, consider skipping the snap-and-go car seat in the airport in favor of a baby carrier. This option allows your baby to use her muscles and experience changes in direction while you walk around. By wearing your baby, you will not only free up your hands as you rush through the airport, but you will also allow your baby to experience changes in her head and body position as you lean over, squat down or shift the weight of your body. 

These small and large changes stimulate your child’s vestibular system, which is a sensory system responsible for telling us about movement, balance and where we are in space. This kind of stimulation can be helpful in encouraging your child to be comfortable with movement, and the closeness the carrier provides is comforting for many babies. 

Carriers come in many varieties. Wraps, slings, soft-structured carriers and frame backpacks can all be comfortably worn for short or long periods, and offer different benefits for your baby. 

Also, when you’re packing, throw a small blanket into your diaper bag. During layovers or long waits at the airport, you can lay a blanket down on the floor and let your baby watch the hustle and bustle while lying, sitting or rolling around on her own.

 

Finding Time to Play

When we are away from home, it’s easy to get out of our routines and forget about the importance of free play for very young babies. Between snuggles with family and friends, or exploring the new country you’ve never been to, it’s easy to see why your baby may not have a lot of time for regular daily play. Sneak in some opportunities for tummy time, an important developmental position for your baby. Tummy time helps develop the neck, shoulder, back and hip muscles. Developing these muscles will enable your child to roll, sit, crawl and walk. Tummy time also offers your baby a new position from which to work on visual skills, coordination and balance reactions. 

While you are on the go, also try carrying your baby belly down, like a football under one arm. When you sit down, lay your baby on his belly on your lap. You can even cross your legs to create an incline, which can make it easier for your baby to play on his tummy while on your lap. 

Although traveling with a baby typically adds gear and stress, it can also provide a wonderful opportunity for sharing new places and people with your baby. With a little thoughtful planning, you and your baby can enjoy traveling and exploring together.

 

Rebecca Quinones and Rachel Gandy are founders of Babies On The MOVE, a Cary-based organization committed to helping children excel in motor development with in-home pediatric physical therapy and community-based infant movement classes for children of all abilities. Learn more at babiesonthemoverdu.com.

 

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Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
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Cost: See website for fees

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Cost: Free

Where:
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Telephone: 951-347-1555
Contact Name: Godfrey Griffin
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More information

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Cost: See website for fees

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Contact Name: Katie Earnhardt
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Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
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Cost: Free

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Charlotte, NC  28271
View map »


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Contact Name: Ranika Chaney
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More information

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Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
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Cost: $70/month

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Cost: See website for fees

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Cost: Free

Where:
Online
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View map »


Sponsor: Engage Art Contest
Telephone: 980-999-1447
Contact Name: Ranika Chaney
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More information

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Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
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View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

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Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
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View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
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Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

Where:
Crossroads Plaza
Crossroad Blvd
Suite 215
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View map »


Sponsor: Crossroads Plaza/ Kimco Realty
Telephone: 864-979-2291
Contact Name: Katie Earnhardt
Website »

More information

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Cost: $35 per Student

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New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
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View map »


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More information

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Cost: $6

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View map »


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Cost: Free

Where:
Online
PO Box 78951
Charlotte, NC  28271
View map »


Sponsor: Engage Art Contest
Telephone: 980-999-1447
Contact Name: Ranika Chaney
Website »

More information

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View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

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PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Must register in advance. Space is limited. Parents, bring your...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
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Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
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PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Parents, bring your child to class with you. Children 10 years...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
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Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
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Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
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Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
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Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
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Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Join one of our talented Mid-South Fencers’ Club coaches for a one hour virtual lesson to the fast paced and exciting sport of Olympic Fencing! This will be a FREE ONLINE class. All you need is...

Cost: free

Where:
Mid-South Fencers' Club ONLINE
125 N. Gregson St.
DURHAM, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Mid-South Fencers' Club
Telephone: 919-286-3100
Contact Name: Jeff Kallio
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It's time to play... TAKEOUT BINGO!!!  Take a screenshot or download the game board. Mark off the locations you visit. Share your progress on Facebook and Instagram using #CRTakeoutBingo. Send...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Crossroads Plaza
Crossroad Blvd
Suite 215
Cary, NC  27518
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Sponsor: Crossroads Plaza/ Kimco Realty
Telephone: 864-979-2291
Contact Name: Katie Earnhardt
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We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
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River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
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Get your summer vibes going at the 1st Annual Hubb’s Beach Blast at Hubb’s Farm in Clinton, NC.  Hubb’s Beach Blast will feature two of beach music industry’s top groups, Jim Quick and...

Cost: 20-50

Where:
Hubb's Farm
10276 US HWY 421 N
Clinton, NC  28328
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Sponsor: Hubb's Farm
Telephone: 910-564-6709
Contact Name: Tammy Peterson
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