When it comes to safety on the roads, one of the most important things for parents is the safety of their children in the car. Below is a list of things to keep in mind when travelling with children.
One of the most important things is to ensure that your child is properly buckled in their car seat, or if they are older and no longer use a car seat, are properly wearing their seatbelts. Not only have studies shown that child safety seats that are correctly installed can reduce the need for hospitalisation by 69% after a road crash, but it is also mandatory according to law that all children under the age of 3 must travel in a car seat.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Infants should ride rear-facing until they are at least 1 year old. It’s best to keep toddlers rear-facing as long as possible.
- When your child has outgrown their seat, use a forward-facing safety seat with a proper full harness. This should be used as long as possible, which is until they’ve exceeded the weight/height limit for the seat.
- Once they’ve outgrown their convertible safety seat, it’s time to get them a boosted seat until they are at least 1.3m tall.
- Once they are tall enough to wear a seatbelt, it’s best to still ride with them in the back until they are around 13 years old.
When it comes to adult seatbelts, be sure to adjust the belt so that the lap belt crosses their upper thighs and the diagonal belt crossed the upper chest at a point between the next and shoulder.
Keep them busy!
As most parents have learned, bored children in a car can lead to long distance drives to feel like an eternity. Keeping the children busy can make travelling much easier for both the parents and the children. Here are a few options to keep the little ones busy:
- Download a few episodes of their favourite show or their favourite movie from Netflix onto your phone or iPad
- Play a few rounds of ‘I Spy’
- Count cars! Pick a colour or a type of car and the 1st one to see 10 of them wins the round
- Hum a song! Give each person in the car a turn to hum a song to get the others guessing
- And of course – the silent game. Keep this 1 for the last stretch of the trip when all you need is peace and quiet. The game is quite easy – the 1st one to talk is the loser. Get a small prize for the person who can keep quiet the longest
And of course, here are a few general tips:
- Always keep a first aid kit in the car ready. You can also make your own DIY kit with everything you might need
- Long road trips can get quite expensive with petrol costs and costs for food, so try to pack in enough food and snacks for the trip
- Pack a small bag that’s easy to get to with a fresh set of clothes
- Stop every 2 or 3 hours to let the children stretch their legs. Plan your trip ahead to see where the best places are to stop for a few minutes
- Take your toddler’s favourite blanket and pillow with. This can make the trip more comfortable for them, especially when they fall asleep in their car seat
Do you have any tips you would add to the list?