Jan Gambino Jan Gambino's Blog

Let’s Go! Reflux Baby on Board.

Most parents agree that taking a baby with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) for a ride in the car can be challenging. And I am not even talking about the high price of gas to get to the pediatricians office! Before you cancel your trip to visit Grandma two states away, read on.

Travel Roadblocks

Some infants and toddlers cannot tolerate sitting in a car seat. The seat may place too much pressure on her stomach and cause discomfort. The result may be whimpering or even loud wailing. Preschoolers and children may be more prone to motion sickness and feel nauseous during a car ride. As a result, many parents avoid car travel whenever possible, even postponing or canceling vacation plans.

Travel Shortcuts

So here are some ideas to consider when you need to travel with your little one with reflux:

  • Have an adult sit next to the baby when the car is in motion.
  • Travel between feedings so her stomach is empty.
  • Try placing a small receiving blanket inside the seat so her legs and hips are raised and straighter (Note: Most rear facing infant car seats put pressure on the stomach due to the angle and tilt of the seat).
  • Travel during naptime or at night, especially for longer trips.

Pit Stop or Spit Stop?

Some babies and children spit up or vomit no matter what we try. Baby stores often sell mats and car seat protectors. I know a mom who figured out how to take apart the car seat out of necessity because her son vomited nearly every time he was in the car seat. She became skilled at washing the plastic car seat base in the tub and putting the cloth cover in the washing machine.

Remember Safe First

It can be very distracting to drive safely when your little passenger is gulping, choking and vomiting. If you do not have a co pilot to assist with the baby, it is best to pull over as quickly as you can to attend to her needs. I know you have lightening quick reflexes and eyes behind your back from taking care of a baby with reflux. Still, it is best to pull over.

Vacation at Home

Some parents just cannot face a road trip with their little one with reflux this year. It is likely the spit up will be much better or gone by next summer. Maybe this is a good year to vacation at home and watch the Travel Channel instead. Some parents tell the grandparents, if you want to see the grandkids, you are going to have to come see us!

Tell me your favorite travel story about taking your baby or child with reflux on vacation. I will share some of my favorite stories in the coming weeks.


Check with your
doctor first!