We are fast approaching the end of the year—the time of year when kids have the longest school holiday of the year and most people take leave and get travelling to friends, family and / or holiday houses around the country.
With roads being so busy during the holiday time, one needs to consider the safety of themselves and their families. I’ve put together some top 6 tips on keeping the family safe while travelling to your destination.
Other than following the law of the roads, watching those speed limits and having the necessary car insurance, here are 6 tips to staying sane and safe in the car with kids:
- Use a Car Seat and Seat Belts: Everyone in the car should be seat belted up. Not only is it against the law not to wear a seat belt, it’s dangerous. Younger children, particularly under 3, should be placed in a car seat and the car seat correctly installed and positioned. If you don’t have one, there are companies who rent them out, or consider asking a friend if you can borrow one. If affordability is an issue, look into children seat belts suitable for younger children—there are companies who offer these sorts of products.
- Plan food and entertainment ahead: Kids get hungry and kids get bored when sitting in a car for a long period of time. My youngest is a nightmare in drives longer than an hour, so I’ve learnt what needs to be done to keep things under control. I have learnt that keeping tummies full by having snacks available, is important, as well as entertainment. So, bring along toys or items they can play with. And, be creative and have a little fun by singing and playing games like ‘I spy’, counting colour cars and anything else you can find to keep their minds and eyes busy. Invest in a sturdy surface they can play on in the comfort of their seats or on their lap. They can play with Lego, colour in, work with an activity or sticker book on the surface,this works wonders.
- Avoid getting distracted: If you are the driver, be very careful that you don’t get distracted by your child(ren) calling on you, asking questions or crying. If you are driving with young children and they start screaming, crying, fighting or doing something that will easily distract you, look for a safe place to pull over and deal with it without being on the road. This keeps both yourself and children safe.
- Stop regularly: Stop regularly to stretch, visit the bathroom and help kids burn off excess energy from sitting. This is also good for you to get the blood flow going and rest the mind and give your eyes a break. If driving with young children or toddlers, try to stop at least every 2 or 3 hours on a long trip.
- Have an itinerary and schedule: Know where you’re going, how you’re getting there and when you will be stopping. This will prevent you adding more time to your trip by facing a detour because you took the wrong road or turnoff, and it will allow you to share information with your kids on when your next stop will be and, hopefully, avoid or reduce you having to answer the dreaded questions of “Are we there yet?” or “When will we be there?”.
- Travel at night if you can: Kids sleep at night, right? So, why not travel at night or close to bedtime. You can leave an hour or so before bedtime while it’s still light and stop for dinner and get them into their pyjamas. Settle them into the car and make them nice and snug with pillows and blankets. They will fall asleep which gives you the opportunity to enjoy the peace and quiet on the road and travel distance without them having ants in their pants.
Above all, have fun with your family. Sometimes travelling with kids can have its challenges, but it’s a great opportunity to connect as a family and have a bit of fun together.
Article brought to you by Dial Direct | Image Credit: www.littlemodernist.com
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