How to Prepare for a Family Road Trip with Kids

When planning a family road trip, there is a bunch of things you need to do to ensure you and your family arrive safely. According to research, children are killed or injured as passengers in cars every day, so it’s crucial that you do as much as you can to keep your kids safe in the car. To help you keep your family safe during a road trip, I’ve put together some safety tips that experts recommend.

Get Your Car Ready

picture of family washing a big red car

Your car should be in perfect working condition before any family road trip. Having to stop, for example, to repair a flat tire with tired or fussy children in the car is something you should totally want to avoid. So, make sure your car is up-to-date on its oil change, battery check, and tire rotation. It is also a good idea to check your car’s make and model for safety recalls and address any related issues before the trip. And don’t forget to check the weather conditions for areas that you’ll travel through so you can purchase new tires, snow chains or a snow brush if necessary.

Follow Car Seat Safety Protocol

One of the best ways to keep your children safe during a road trip is making sure their car seat is safe and secure. This means using the right baby car seat for your child age, weight and height. How to buy a baby car seat that meets these criteria? Here are a few tips to help you to buy baby car seat that is suitable for your child.

Rear-Facing Car Seat

picture of a happy baby sitting in a rear-facing car seat while car is moving

This model should be your child’s first car seat. It’s meant to be installed in the backseat with the baby positioned facing the rear of the car. This car seat should be used until your child reaches the maximum height or weight limit specified by the car seat manufacturers. Generally, children are safe in rear-facing car seats until they’re two years old or weigh 18 kilos. Check with the specific manufacturer for the recommended age and weight.

Foward-Facing Car Seat

This car seat is also meant to be installed in the backseat, but with kids positioned facing the front of the car. Children can use it after they outgrow a rear-facing car seat until they are at least five years old.

Booster Seat

This model elevates your kid’s height so that the seat belt fits correctly. Children use this type when they outgrow a forward-facing car seat but aren’t big enough to only use a seat belt. Even if your kid can safely use a seat belt, it is recommended that they sit in the backseat until they are 12 years old.

picture of two kids in a car on their car seats

While car seats can be costly, never purchase a used one. That particular model may have been recalled or have defects and not be safe to use. So, it’s best to buy baby car seat that is new and without a questionable history.

In order to keep your child safe, your car seat needs to be installed correctly. The best way to find out how to install baby car seat is by reading through the user’s manual for both your car and the car seat before starting with the installation. Remember that the car seat should only be placed in the backseat and should be tightly secured. To make sure it’s tightly secure, grasp the bottom and move the seat side to side and front to back. If the car seat moves more than 2 centimetres, then it may not be secure.

Store Some Emergency Supplies in the Trunk

It’s worth storing some safety resources in your trunk in case you experience car troubles such as a portable flashlight, jumper cables tire pressure gauge, extra windshield wiper fluid and flares. If travelling during the cold months, you may also want to keep extra jackets, nonperishable food and water too, in case you need to stop for long periods of time. It is always smart to have a first aid kit on hand in case someone gets injured.

Get Plenty of Sleep Before Driving

Fatigue poses a real danger when driving for long periods. Experts say that fatigue behavior is a lot like driving drunk. Driving after being awake for at least 18 hours is similar to driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.05% and 0.08% is considered intoxicated in many states. So, try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep before hitting the road.

picture of family in a car travelling beside grass fields and mountains

Plan Some Pitstops

Make sure to map out your journey before leaving home. This will allow you to get a realistic picture of how long your trip will take as well as plan some pitstops. Research fun things to do in towns along your route. Consider stopping at a park during your trip so your kids can have some outdoor play and you can stretch your legs.

Play Together

If you’re travelling with more than one adult, it can be a good idea for one grown-up to join the children in the backseat for at least some part of the trip. See the time you spend on the road as an opportunity to spend quality time together playing travel games. Of course, you’ll also want to pack the right baby toys for independent play.

Don’t Forget Snacks

Snacks are a great way to keep kids’ hands and mouths busy when travelling. So make sure to pack healthy goodies in separate containers and slowly dole them out to get the most bang for your family’s road trip buck. Good snack ideas include cereals, whole grain crackers, trail mix and sliced fresh fruits.