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8 Things You Should Never Leave Home Without

The best travel gear for babies and toddlers

Blessed are the parents whose babies eat anything and sleep anywhere. For the rest of us, traveling with tots requires an arsenal of gear and gadgets—including these eight lifesavers.

Disposable bottles.
Give yourself a break and skip the washing-and-sterilizing step of bottle feeding while away from home; single-use 10-ounce Steri-bottles are free of BPA (of course), and 100 percent recyclable. (Just be sure to test one at home first to be sure your baby is cool with the nipple.)

Portable blackout shade. The new SnoozeShade for Playards ($99.99) is a breathable zip-up sleep shade that fits most placards and acts as a partial or complete black-out shade.

Sound machine. Do what you can to drown out unfamiliar noises at bedtime. We like to use the HoMedics SoundSpa On-The-Go ($9.99) as a white-noise machine; it’s flat and easy to pack, too. (n.b. Dr. Harvey Karp suggests the “white noise” setting, on full blast.)

Playard slipcover. Coverplay slipcovers ($49) are a germaphobe’s solution to renting or borrowing a pack n’ play.

Foldable baby carrier. As the lightest carrier on the market, the Boba Air ($64.99) isn’t super cushiony, but it folds up into a wee pouch that’s unbelievably handy for travel.

A set of wheels for your car seat. If you’re planning to use your toddler’s car seat on the plane, bring along the gogo Kidz Travelmate ($89.99) to convert the car seat into a quasi-stroller for long airport walks.

An airplane seat harness.
In lieu of a car seat, CARES ($74.95) is a brilliant, FAA-approved five-point harness that enables toddlers to safely sit big-kid style in an airplane seat.

Stroller bag. If you’re going to check your stroller at the gate, it would be nice to get it back in one piece. Stokke’s Prampack ($199.99) fits most single strollers and conveniently rolls up yoga-mat style when the job is done.