Frequently, We would take a trip with our little refluxer, knowing that at some point the vibrations and movements of the car or the position she settled in would be just enough for her to reflux her feed, from hours before.
Often the reflux was little and often and didn’t cause too much of a worry, while our daughter was strapped into her car seat. It was usually just a laundry problem and we used a Snuzzler to support her position keeping her back supported and to avoid slumping, a little seat protector called a Piddlepad to stop the liquids from seeping into the car seat materials and a large bib. This was okay on most occasions and worked well to manage reflux during a car seat trip.
However, we did have a few ‘hairy’ moments when our daughter was very sick and upset, while in her car seat and we were driving on the Motorway. It’s frightening to hear your child distressed, while you are driving. They are screaming and thrashing around in their seat and you are on your own, trying to concentrate on the road.
Here’s some suggestions of what to do:
- Be prepared – forearmed is forewarned! Use positioning devices to support your baby’s core, and protect your child and car upholstery before you set off.
- Avoid feeding just before you leave. Give your baby at least 30-45 minutes after the feed before travelling. Plan this time in your journey if you are stopping at a motorway services.
- When your baby is very sick, slow down the speed and safely move over to the inside lane.
- Suggest you Do not stop.
- Try to stay calm yourself, using soothing words to try to calm your child.
- Use your rear view mirror to view your child, and assess very quickly how serious the sick episode is. Sometimes, the volume and speed of the sick is enough to frighten the child, but they are not in any harm. Immediate action is not needed, just calming techniques.
- Don’t take your eyes off the road or try to reach back to them while the car is moving.
- If you need to, bring yourself to a safe stop, finding a slip road off the Motorway or a side road and park. Then attend to your child. Do not pull onto the hard shoulder and stop.
We know that when our babies are sick, they get distressed and cry. A baby screaming is the biggest trigger for mum or dad to act upon. However, while you are driving, there needs to be a moment of clarity. Ask yourself is my child in harms way with this sick episode? If there is no immediate danger to the child, take steps to safely slow down and then leave the main road and park up to see to them.