Transportation is a beast unto itself when you start adding additional babes into the mix. Even going from 1-2 kids can throw a wrench into the transportation game, let alone parenting three kids, if you’re used to having one parent sit comfortably in the back seat with the baby. Whether your main mode of transportation is a car or stroller (I’ve lived both lives), transportation can make or break your day-to-day life. Books, blogs, websites have spent countless hours writing and reviewing kids and transportation so I will refrain from doing that here. Instead, here are some main tips and tricks that have worked for our family in the transportation game.
- Car seats that fit! We have the Clek Foonf for the big kids because they are the most narrow for fitting side- by-side if needed. My recommendation is to take the time, do the measurements, and see what car seats are going to fit in the car you currently have. The bottom line is that things are going to be tight now-you likely won’t be able to fit a parent in the back seat for long car rides anymore. Check the Car Crash Detective to see if your existing car seats will fit.
- Entertainment – We’ve gone and done it, we’ve got the full entertainment system happening in our car and it’s AMAZING. Believe or not, most of these systems still use DVDs, even in brand new high-tech cars. After some trial and error, we were able to hook up an old iPod by using an adapter we purchased at the apple store and some input cables from Amazon. Now we can just load up new shows and movies for longer rides and not fiddle with swapping DVDs – it works great! Do yourself a favor and let them watch something-whether you rig up an old iPad on the back of the seat or go all out for the entertainment system in the car, there is plenty of time to sing/dance and play I Spy on those shorter rides together.
- Storage – If you opt for a third row car, storage all of a sudden becomes an issue. No more trunk space for strollers, suitcases, etc. A roof rack is the next best solution and makes longer trips more comfortable. But they can get expensive, around $1,000 for one of the big boxes if you include the rails and brackets, and they never go on sale. Our trick was to wait for the annual REI garage sale, where we picked one up for 50% off because of a small dent!
- Stuff – I am completely OCD when it comes to the cleanliness and organization of my car. It usually lasts about a minute being clean but it’s the effort that counts, right? I have found that having a box of snacks for the kids in the car along with a stash of wipes, extra diapers, a blanket and a travel first aid kit is key. I’ve been known to forget snacks from time to time at pick-up from school (that’s a no-no) and there have been many a time when a trip to the park resulted in a skinned knee and we needed a sticker and band-aid ASAP.
- How many seats do you need? (be realistic – will your 4 year old really be willing to walk?) Depending on the ages of your kids, you might need to have two seats and wear your baby in a wrap or carrier until s/he is too big.
- Ride along boards – Some stroller brands have their own ride along boards. We decided to invest in a universal board that we’ve been able to use with multiple strollers depending on which kids are with me. It’s easy to pop on and off our BOB and allows me to take all three kids (without wearing one) on long walks.
- Accessories – You’re going to need to consider which accessories you might need. We have cup and snack holders, which have always been key to keeping the kiddos happy on longer walks, and an adapter for your car seat for when the baby is still an infant. Seasonal accessories like sunshades, rain covers and these amazing gloves are added bonuses!