A road trip is the classic family vacation option. Before you pack up the car and head out, consider the potential safety issues. With a little prep and safety precautions during the trip, you can focus on making memories that don’t involve injuries.
Before the trip, give your car a tune-up. You want the car to run well so you don’t run into car troubles on the road. Check the air pressure in all of the tires even if they don’t look low. Fill any tires that aren’t within the recommended range.
Clean It Out
Cars have a tendency to become collection spots for random stuff. Before you hit the open road, clean out anything that isn’t necessary, especially in the back seat where the kids can reach. Don’t leave items on the back window ledge. If you need to stop suddenly, those items can fly forward and hit your child.
Secure Safety Seats
If you have young children, safety seats are an issue. Check the installation before you head out on a road trip. Over time, the straps that secure the seat to the car can become loose. Check all of the connections to make sure the safety seat is secured well. You can often find car dealerships or police stations that will check the car seat installation for free. When your child gets into the car, secure her every time. Make sure the safety seat belts aren’t twisted and fit snugly around your child.
Newer cars come with several safety features that are useful on road trips, especially with small kids. Safety locks on the rear doors prevent your child from opening up the door from the inside. Engage the locks before leaving. You can also keep your child from sticking things out the window by engaging the window locks.
Sitting in a car for a long time can be boring for a child, but you want him to stay safe. Discourage him from taking his arm out of the seat belt or leaning over sideways. Help him get comfortable while sitting upright by propping a pillow beside him. Remind him not to wave his arms around wildly or otherwise block the view of the driver.
If you bring snacks on the road trip, choose wisely. Avoid foods that are a choking hazard, such as grapes or popcorn. You can’t always pull over immediately if you’re traveling at a high rate of speed should your child start choking. For the safest snacking, wait until you take a pit stop. Find a picnic table at a rest area or a shaded spot in the grass for a food break.
Don’t push yourself too much when trying to get to your destination. When traveling with kids, you’ll need to take frequent breaks. The rest stops help them stretch their legs and be less crabby. If they start whining in the backseat, you become distracted while trying to drive. Stopping also helps you remain alert so you can drive safely.