Traveling with children is a hassle, heck having children in the first place is always an uphill battle. Parents should be extra careful when driving their kids as you never know what “accidents” may happen along the way. Veteran mothers and fathers will know what we mean when we say, “accidents.”
So for both new and old parents alike, here are a few tips and tricks to make your trips with kids, a heck of a lot easier. Whether you got yourself a hulking SUV, a minivan, or an MPV to serve as your family car, all these tips will apply.
Use a child seat
First and foremost, it’s not only important to ensure safety but to ensure that your child’s body is secure in the event of a crash. Your kid may be a little shorter for the seatbelt to accommodate, and you will need to purchase a child seat. Make sure you get the right type that is appropriate for your child’s size and weight.
Seatbelts are important, seatbelts save lives, and they come with every car. Do not forget to buckle up yourself as well.
Potty breaks before the trip
If you’ve ever tried to hold it in for as long as you can in traffic, then the deed becomes a bit more difficult for kids, especially babies and toddlers. Make sure to go to the bathroom before you head out as a squirmy passenger trying to hold it in may distract you from reaching your destination in good time.
Also, don’t get us started on the mess that you have to clean up if said passenger gets into an “accident” of their own.
Pack some essentials
Speaking of “accidents,” don’t forget to bring your baby bag or other essentials when traveling with your children. Baby wipes, diapers, snacks, and other things you might way to bring
The front is for adults
Unless your kid is already taller than you, or tall enough for the seatbelt to accommodate, don’t seat them upfront. While it is easier to wipe noses and comfort your child while they’re seated in front, doing so may distract you from the road ahead.
Keep them at the back in a child seat. Buckled in and not jumping about and messing with things in the back seat.
Sick bag just in case
Especially for first-time passengers, kids may not be used to getting jostled about in a car. That being said, bring a plastic bag along for the ride if it’s their first time. Getting car sick is definitely a problem that you need to prepare for as a parent. Make sure that the sick bag is within your reach and make sure to only give it to them if they need it as plastic can cause suffocation.
This may depend on your kid. If you’re gracious enough to let them watch videos on your phone, or if your car has a monitor for the rear passengers, we recommend that you take the time and load up some videos for them to watch. This will help divert their attention away from the road, and other surprises along the way. Also, consider putting on their favorite music while you drive. It will create a nice atmosphere for your kids. In fact, why not give them the AUX cord or connect their phone via Bluetooth if they’re able and have a smartphone of their own.
Reconsider, however, if your child is prone to car sickness.
Bring a friend
Bring along a friend or spouse because it's nice to have some backup when dealing with children. One adult will be behind the wheel and another will be at the back taking care of the kids. Doing this will help you focus on the road and keep your child in check in the back seat.
Steady hands and feet
If you’re not used to driving smoothly, then as a parent, it’s time to get used to it. Try to smoothen your inputs on the steering wheel, throttle, and brake pedals. Don’t jerk the wheel, stomp on the pedal, and look at the road ahead for any hazards that you can anticipate.
Not only do your inputs have to be smooth, but you have to see further down the road to anticipate your stops.
Set an example
Lastly, don’t make it a dangerous ride. You can spruce up your car ride by talking to your kid and telling him or her about the joys of driving and how to do so safely. You may also want to orient them on what a car is as to not scare them while they’re in it.
You can even—sort of, teach them how to drive and orient them on good driving habits. Give them something to look forward to while they’re in the car. Give cars a good image in their heads so they’re eager to sit in their seat. This could also cultivate good driving habits in the future, but it’s important that you will also be mature behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Remember who’s the adult in the car.