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Before you Travel with Children

Driving with children or babies can be challenging; All parents dread the repetitious "Are we there yet?" closely followed by the constant squabbling or wriggling about in the back seats.

The following advice will help reduce your stress level making your car journeys safer and more enjoyable.

  1. Plan your travel well in advance; this is especially important if you are going on a long journey. Try to avoid travelling through towns and cities during peak times.
  2. Allow extra time for roadwork's or the unexpected route diversion. Make sure you have an emergency car kit, read (Tips and Advice article 31)
  3. Provided you have had enough sleep, consider driving when your children are usually asleep. For example, through the night or in the early hours of the morning. Always allow extra time for toilet and rest breaks.
  4. If possible and only if safe from theft; packing the car the night before will help reduce any morning tensions.
  5. Fill the car up with fuel the night before and do all the prejourney checks such as tyre pressure, oil, water, and windscreen wash etc.
  6. Don't forget to have enough child seats in your car. This is particularly important if you have a relation or a friend of the children going with you. The law states that all children up to 135cm tall (around 4'5") or the age of 12, whichever comes first, in the front or rear seats in cars, must travel in the correct child restraint for their weight with very few exceptions. For full details read (Seat belts Tips and Advice Article No 28)
  7. Make a list of all that you need to take with you including emergency supplies.
  8. It's a good idea to keep a few plastic freezer zip lock bags in the glove compartment for travel-sickness and empty carrier bags for rubbish. Also wet wipes, kitchen roll, tissues, spare toilet roll and an emergency supply of disposable nappies are essential supplies to have on long journeys.
  9. As you load the car, tick off the list in priority order. Always load the car with possessions first and children last.
  10. Place the children's favourite toys and games inside the car, but electronic games must be on low volume to avoid distracting the driver. (Remember spare batteries and charger). Colouring books, puzzles, and spot the car or animal games are all engaging exercises to fulfil children's time. Remember! The more you can engage children, the less restless they become.
  11. Don't over pack the inside of your car. Pack the car safely and neatly so nothing could fall and hurt your child if you have to brake suddenly.
  12. Allow as much space as possible between children and encourage them to see long journeys as an exciting escapade allowing them to choose the main characters.
  13. Do a final check that you have everything and before you load your children or passengers make sure they all have been to the toilet.
  14. Have a look at what the AA suggest to keep the kids occupied on car journeys. (http://www.theaa.com/arewenearlythereyet/

Driving and Travelling with Children

Before you travel with Children: Tips and Advice - Article No.58 RoadDriver 2010

For more information and a printable version to pass on to friends and family, click the link below.

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