A baby in a car seat with a window screen and juice cup
A baby in a car seat with a window screen and juice cup
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Car-Ride Must-Haves
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Car rides with infants and toddlers are always a bit of a crapshoot. Sometimes your little one sleeps the entire way while you listen to podcasts and drink hot coffee. Other times, it takes forever to get where you’re going because you have to deal with tears or diaper blowouts. That’s why we’ve rounded up 12 must-have accessories to make car rides easier, safer and more fun—from baby car-seat toys to cleaning supplies you’ll inevitably need along the way. (Still need to finish your car-seat shopping? Check out our 7 favourite car seats.)

For Keeping Baby Entertained

Manhattan Toy Farmer’s Market Soft Activity Book Baby Toy

2 Reviews

Buying a toy exclusively for the car is smart because you’ll always have something on hand to keep your child busy. But it’s even smarter to buy a toy that ages up with your baby, like this soft fruits-and-veggies-themed book. In the first year, your little one will love the bright pages, as well as the tactile and auditory features. When there’s suddenly a toddler in the backseat—it seems to happen overnight—they can practice colours, shapes, counting and more.

For Keeping Baby Entertained

V-Tech Snug-A-Bug Musical Critter

122 Reviews

Your baby will love this toy that spouts more than 50 songs and sounds. The cute little bug will keep them entertained for ages with its soft, colourful legs that promote learning, its light-up tummy and all of its tactile features. During naptime, turn on Sleepytime mode to change the soundtrack to lullabies and sleep sounds that promote snoozing. (You might also like these great toys and gifts for babies and toddlers.)

For Keeping Baby Entertained

Bright Starts Busy Birdies Carrier Toy Bar Take-Along Toy

55 Reviews

While you’re driving, Transport Canada says it’s a good idea to avoid third-party after-market accessories that strap to a car seat. But while you’re stationary, this baby car-seat toy that attaches to the handle will turn the seat into an activity centre with songs, tactile experiences and discovery features. It’s great for pit stops or when you’ve clicked your infant car seat into the stroller base of a travel system. For more tips for keeping your baby safer in their car seat, check out our 10 car seat safety tips.

For On-the-Go Soothing

Mary Meyer Down Under Koala Lovey

1 Review

This cuddly, machine-washable koala is perfect for keeping in the back seat with your little one. With baby-safe details—all embroidered or sewn-in—nothing should come loose during a cuddle sesh. Pro tip: If your little one has a favourite stuffed animal, buy a second one for the car so you never forget it at home.

For On-the-Go Soothing

Tiny Teethers Clip-On Pacifier Clip

3 Reviews

There’s nothing worse than a dropped pacifier while you’re on the highway, and you can avoid the issue altogether with a pacifier clip. Even when your baby lets the soother drop, they’ll be able to easily find it again (or someone in the passenger seat can reach back to help). This clip is made of BPA-free silicone beads, so it doubles as a teether.

For On-the-Go Soothing

Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump

232 Reviews

When it comes to keeping everyone happy during a car ride, mom’s needs matter, too. It’s a unique kind of torture to be stuck in traffic and needing to nurse or pump—and that’s where a manual breast pump comes in. If you’re the passenger (or are able to park), this compact, lightweight Medela pump can help to ease the pressure by allowing you to hand-express milk. (We also love these 6 top breast pumps.)

For Safety’s Sake

On the Goldbug 2-Piece Baby Car Seat Mirror

40 Reviews

When it comes to car-seat safety, many new parents want to have eyes on their baby during car rides. This seat-rest mirror allows the driver to peek at their rear-facing little one in the rear-view mirror. The model comes with adjustable straps and clips for secure positioning, and the mirror is shatter-resistant. Just make sure that the mirror is firmly in place so it won’t easily come loose while driving.

For Safety’s Sake

Brica White Hot Sun Safety Shades, 2-Pack

18 Reviews

Your future self will thank you for this purchase on the first blazingly sunny day you spend in the car. A baby or toddler who has the sun in their eyes is understandably difficult to soothe, which can make for a miserable trip. These window shades have swivel clips to fit most window shapes and red buttons that turn white when the car gets hot.

For Safety’s Sake

George Baby Lamb Blanket

4 Reviews

Transport Canada recommends avoiding bulky layers (thick blankets, puffy coats and snowsuits) beneath a car seat’s five-point harness, since they can prevent proper tightening of the straps. Instead, secure your little one in their car seat and tuck blankets around them to keep them cozy on chilly days. You can even keep an extra blanket or two in the car for when the mercury really dips.

For Roadside Cleanups

Johnson’s Baby Wash and Shampoo Tear-Free Formula

503 Reviews

Baby wash might seem like a silly item to keep in the car but, if you ever have to handle a diaper situation or a carsick kid, you’ll be so grateful you packed it. Simply stop at a rest stop, give your little one a rinse in the bathroom sink, dress them in a fresh change of clothes and you’ll be good to go. You can even use it for spot-cleaning your car seat’s padding. (Just check your owner’s manual first!)

For Roadside Cleanups

Wet Ones Sensitive Skin Alcohol-Free Hand Wipes

154 Reviews

This one is probably a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. Make sure you always have a package of antibacterial wipes in the car for cleaning up your little one and wiping down your own hands, clothes or the car. Car-ride messes are the worst so you might as well be prepared.

For Roadside Cleanups

Dirt Devil QuickFlip Wet Dry Cordless Hand Vacuum

120 Reviews

Keeping a small, cordless, battery-operated vacuum in the car is great for everyday cleanups—dropped Goldfish crackers and Cheerios are inevitable—and on-the-road disasters. A wet/dry option (especially one with a crevice tool for cleaning in tight spaces) will help with spills of all kinds so you can easily handle in-car ickiness along the way. (You might also love our ultimate baby checklist for minimalist moms.)

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