Can I let my 2 year-old sleep in the back during a 10 hour long drive?
May 15, 2014 3:15 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I want to go on a trip to Luxembourg. Its a 10 hour drive, and we want to do it during nighttime. However we have a 2,5 year old and we're wondering if we can let her sleep in the back in the car-seat for the entire ride? Will we do permanent damage to her body if we let her sleep in the carseat? Usually we just take a break if we go on long rides, and we've never considered her sleeping during a really long ride.
posted by madcow20 to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total)
She'll be perfectly fine in the carseat, as have been many toddlers before her.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:23 PM on May 15, 2014 [9 favorites]

Absolutely, she'll be fine, wouldn't even think twice about it.
posted by coleboptera at 3:24 PM on May 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

Buy her something like this to make her more comfortable… give it to her before the trip to get to like it, then when you put it on the seatbelt it'll be nice for her. It supports the head and neck and gives them something to brace their tummies against. My kids love theirs.
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:29 PM on May 15, 2014

People do this in the U.S. all the time, at least my family did, since longer car trips are the norm around here. Take that for what you will. :)
posted by Aleyn at 3:34 PM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yup. You can do this. I've seen nobevidence it would cause physical issues for the child. And I've seen mountains of anecdata that toddlers who don't sleep on trips that long become grouchy monsters.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:22 PM on May 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

We did the overnight drive with our son at 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years! It's the easiest way to drive many hours in a row.
posted by katypickle at 4:31 PM on May 15, 2014

Best answer: Annually, we drive 11 hours overnight from Maine to Pennsylvania with our son asleep in the back seat. We flew when he was an infant, but these trips started when he was 1 and this summer he will be 8.

Physically, he'll be absolutely fine.

The bad part is, you have a child who has had a full nights sleep and is UP! and READY TO GO! at his regular time, and two exhausted, sleep deprived, cranky parents. That is, by far, the worst thing that will happen.
posted by anastasiav at 4:32 PM on May 15, 2014 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Agreeing with above. Consider putting a piece of luggage or other box in the footwell under the carseat for the child's feet to rest on so they aren't dangling the whole time and possibly falling asleep.
posted by RoadScholar at 4:50 PM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I thought this was going to be a "let my kid sleep in the way back of a station wagon" question, and my reply was going to be "please put your kid in the car seat to sleep."

If your kid is comfortable and a good car sleeper, this is fine! But I'd have a backup plan ready to go, in case you end up 4 hours into a screamfest ready to poke out your eyes with a stick.
posted by instamatic at 5:32 PM on May 15, 2014

Best answer: This question didn't make sense to me till I realized you weren't in the US. My kids have done this many, many times and so have all of their friends. We do a 12-hr drive every summer and my younger son was about that age the first time he did it, and slept most of the way. Totally fine. Young kids sleep for huge long drives in their car seats all the time here.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:39 PM on May 15, 2014

Best answer: She will be fine. You will be laughing your head off at all the funny positions she ends up sleeping in. Bring small blankets or a towel that you can roll to the perfect shape to try and cradle her head, but she will still end up hanging nearly upside down and sideways, happily sleeping away.
posted by myselfasme at 5:58 PM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm assuming that she'll be in a harnessed car-seat, and yes, she'll be fine. Letting her roll around the backseat of the car in funny positions would be a terrible idea though.

Anastasiav is totally right. Make sure that the adult who isn't driving is resting or you'll all be miserable the next day.
posted by checkitnice at 6:16 PM on May 15, 2014

Best answer: Yep, Americans do this pretty much constantly, I slept in the car overnight many many many times a year as a child and rather enjoyed it. Make sure she has an option of pillows and blankets and don't forget to take pictures of her when she ends up in funny cute positions.
posted by epanalepsis at 6:30 AM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is she potty-trained? You might want to double-diaper her if not... or at least have supplies for any accidents that happen en route.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:34 AM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've done this plenty of times. Don't worry about it. Check the kid every half hour at least just to be sure they are comfortable.
posted by tacodave at 2:39 PM on May 16, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for all your answers :) We will go with the all-night car ride :)
posted by madcow20 at 3:57 AM on May 17, 2014

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