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Must-Have Car Accessories for New Parents

As a new parent, I can relate to the stress of figuring out what you need and don’t need for your new baby. Do you really need a bottle sterilizer, wipe warmer, or white noise machine? Every family and every baby is different, but it’s a different ball game when you try to take your child on the road. You don’t realize how much you need until you’re packing up for a quick trip to a restaurant for dinner and you’re running through a mental checklist of all the just-in-case items you may need in the hour you’re going to be away from the house. When it comes to the car, there are some items that really make the trip more comfortable and enjoyable for everyone on board, especially the baby, because if the baby isn’t happy, no one is happy. When it comes to car accessories for new parents, what items can really make a difference on the road? Here are a few.

Baby Car Camera or Mirror

Personally, I like camera systems better than a simple mirror. They’re easy to install, and I can easily keep an eye on my son. Above all else, a camera provides a clear view of your child so that you can always be sure they’re not getting into any mischief in the backseat. Remember, even though they’re strapped into their car seat, it doesn’t mean they won’t find a way to get into mischief.
Car camera systems come in two pieces. The camera attaches to the rear seatback and faces the baby, facing the rear. The screen is mounted on the dashboard, so you can quickly glance at your baby without turning around. Our system plugs into the auxiliary power outlet, and what I really like about it is that it has night vision, so I can keep an eye on him even when it’s dark outside. You can opt for a mirror, which is a cheaper alternative. However, you won’t be able to enjoy the clear views and night vision you’ll have with the camera.

My Pick: Shynerk Baby Car Monitor

Sunshades and Car Seat Covers

Babies, especially newborns, act like little vampires when the sun touches their angelic faces. Their eyes are sensitive, and that bright light is quite unwelcome. However, when you’re traveling, you can’t control whether the sun is shining in your little one’s eyes. Fortunately, sunshades are available to add to your back windows that filter out the sunlight but don’t obstruct your field of vision. I also like car seat covers, which attach to the top of the car seat and drape over the baby. This is really helpful when you’re taking your baby out of the car and want to continue protecting them from the sun.

My Picks: Munchkin Sun Safety Window Roller Shade, Goldbug Car Seat Canopy

A view of the trunk space of an SUV.

Trunk Organizer

Staying organized with a baby in tow is everything. Not only will you have exactly what you need right at your fingertips, but you’ll also reduce your stress levels, which is important because traveling with a baby is stressful enough. From diapers to wipes, spare pacifiers, extra outfits, bottles, and other baby necessities, having all of this organized in your trunk can be a lifesaver on the road. Find one with multiple pockets to have a place for all the tiny baby essentials you’ll need, and bonus points if it acts as a changing station as well. You wouldn’t believe how many places don’t have a place for you to change your baby in the restroom. If you want to ensure that you have all the necessities for your baby in your car, especially when you assume it’s going to be a quick trip and don’t bring the diaper bag, having one of these on board is a lifesaver.

My Pick: Out-N-About Trunk Organizer & Changing Station

Changing Pad

If you don’t have a lot of space for an all-out organizer in your trunk or cargo hold, you will want to have a simple changing pad. This way, you can lay this down either on a changing table in a public restroom, or if you can’t find one (which is the case more often than not), you at least have a buffer and can lay this down on the floor. These are cheap and easy to store in your vehicle. You can even fold one up and put it in your glove compartment if you need to save space, but trust me, you’re going to use this often.

My Pick: Munchkin Go Change Portable Diaper Changing Kit & Pad

Backseat Organizer

Another great tool is a backseat organizer, which is much appreciated by those who drive small vehicles like sedans or compact SUVs. These fit over the front seat, drape over the back, and have different size pockets to accommodate all your must-have baby items. Like the trunk organizer, these are great for diapers, wipes, toys, etc. They don’t take up as much space as the trunk organizer, either, so if you’re looking to have all your essentials on the go in a space-saving option, you’ll want to take a closer look at these.

My Pick: ONE PIX Back Seat Car Organizer

Leak-Proof Trash Can

You may think that babies are way less messy than toddlers, and in a way, you’d be right. They don’t sprinkle crumbs all over the backseat or spill their sippy cups. However, they still make unexpected messes. Whether they’ve spit up or had another issue occur in transit, it helps to have somewhere to put any trash incurred from having to rectify the situation on the road. Leak-proof trash cans are perfect for this. Many of them fit right over the seatback so that they don’t take up too much room inside your car. Plus, when they get older and start making bigger messes, you’ll be grateful that you installed one of these handy accessories in your car.

My Pick: HOTOR Car Trash Can

A teddy bear is in the back seat of a vehicle.

Car Seat Toys and Sensory Pads

Babies get bored, especially as they get older. Their attention span is nothing, which means that as soon as they tire of watching the scenery pass by, they will start crying for something to do. Enter car seat toys and sensory pads. Babies love to look at things, whether attached to the top of the car seat or on the rear seatback facing them. From little dangling toys to mirrors for them to look at themselves, these simple toys will go a long way, especially when you have a lengthy journey ahead of you.

My Pick: You and I Hooray Adjustable Car Seat Toy

If you haven’t already realized, about a gazillion things are available for babies, not all of which you’ll actually need. Depending on how often you travel and your baby’s needs, you may need all of these accessories or just a few. It’s important to keep your little one safe, so ensuring that you’re taking care of your vehicle and riding in a safe model will help with this, as well as ensuring that your car seat is installed correctly. When it comes to keeping your baby occupied and comfortable on the road, it all comes down to making sure you have access to the essentials. If you’re a new parent struggling to figure out exactly what you need, try some of these accessories to make family time on the road more enjoyable for all.