For plenty of families, heading out on vacation involves packing up the car and embarking on a long road trip. Of course, you’ve probably got lots on your mind regarding packing, organizing, and your itinerary, but it’s also important to think about how to keep the kids safe on the road trip. Luckily, brushing up on a few safety tips can make you better prepared for the trip and the unexpected. These tips can keep you and your children safe and make the whole trip worry-free.
Car Seat Safety
If you have young children who are still in a car seat or booster seat, it’s very important to ensure that they are in the correct sized seat for their height and weight. Not only that, but you want to be sure the car seat is properly installed in your vehicle.
Before heading out on the trip, take a moment to have your child sit in their car seat. This is a perfect time to make any adjustments to the strap position, headrest position, etc. You don’t want to feel rushed while you go through these steps, so don’t leave it until the morning you embark on your trip. If the car seat ends up being too small, perhaps your child has gone through a growth spurt, then you still have time to go pick up a new seat and install it.
Here is a handy chart to follow:
- O-2 years of age: child should be in a rear-facing seat with a harness system
- 2-5 years of age: child should be in a forward-facing seat with a harness system
- 5 years and older: child can be in a booster seat as long as the seatbelt fits properly
Pack an Emergency Kit
It’s always a good idea to have an emergency kit in your car, but it’s even more important if you plan on heading out on a road trip. You can purchase pre-made kits or make your own and customize what’s in it. Some items that are recommended you have on hand are:
- Disinfectant Wipes or alcohol swabs
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Water bottles
- High protein snack bars
- Jumper cables or a portable jump box
- A multipurpose tool that includes various screwdriver heads
You can store all these items in a bag or a crate, whichever you prepare.
Allow for Breaks
A road trip can be stressful and tiring for everyone in the car. This is exactly why it’s wise to take frequent breaks. Allow the kids to get out, stretch their legs, have a snack, use the potty, and basically take a break from the car. This will keep them happier and calmer, which makes for a safer environment for everyone.
Making the Trip a Success
By following a few simple tips and taking things easy on the road, you’ll be well on your way to having a successful family road trip. Just be prepared to hear “are we there yet?” constantly.