Whether you’re popping to the shops or on a long-distance road trip, travelling with kids isn’t always easy, especially if you’re travelling alone. For many moms, trying to keep a toddler amused in the car while making sure both hands are on the wheel and eyes are on the road can be difficult.
Here are a few helpful tips from Imperial Auto for moms travelling with kids:
1. Safety first
In South Africa, car seats must adhere to European safety standards and be certified by the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). When buying a car seat, be sure to look for the ECE sticker of approval located somewhere on the seat, as well as the regulation number “R44-04”. Also check the weight and size specifications and ensure the seat is suitable for the age of your child – the needs of a newborn are different to a toddler.
2. Hungry kids are a no-no
If you’re planning to take your little one with you on the road, ensure that he has been fed before you go. If your child is old enough to feed himself, pack him a goody bag with his favourite snacks for the car.
Keeping your little one entertained in the car is an important part of ensuring an easy ride. Keep a CD of his favourite nursery rhymes, songs or children’s stories in the form of audiobooks in the car. Bring along his favourite toy for the car as well.
4. Prepare for the trip
Whether it’s a short trip to the grocery store or a family holiday, it’s vital that you prepare for the trip by informing your kids of what to expect and packing a “mommy bag”. Tell your kids at least a few hours before your road trip where you’ll be going and how long it will take to avoid any temper tantrums when it’s time to leave. If your child is an infant, carry a few nappies, a clean pair of clothes, a plastic bag, wet wipes, bum cream, a towel, a face cloth, a bottle of sterilised water and extra milk, if bottle feeding. For older children, the bag can contain more substantive snacks and bottles of juice, as well as a clean pair of clothes and underwear.
5. Reward for good behaviour
If it’s a particularly long trip, it’s a good idea to offer a reward for good behaviour. If they’re able to stay calm throughout the trip, perhaps they can have their favourite fruit juice, or watch an extra 20 minutes of TV once you’re back home.
6. Rest up
Driving when you’re exhausted is highly risky and can cause you to lose focus and awareness of your surroundings. If you absolutely have to drive, grab a coffee to go to keep you awake and alert. If you start to feel drowsy behind the wheel, pull into the closest and safest petrol station or parking lot to rest.
7. No distractions
Reaching behind you to find a toy to keep a fussing child entertained is not only challenging but often the cause of a number of child-related accidents on our roads. A great way to avoid distractions is to attach your child’s favourite toy to their baby seat using a bungee cord or elasticated string. Make use of a Bluetooth car kit or the on-board Bluetooth or wireless system available in a number of car models for phone calls.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.