From screaming toddlers to agitated teens to improper use of child seats, driving with kids can be difficult. But, don’t let the stress get to you. By keeping your cool and planning ahead, it’s just another drive around the block.
Tip 1 – Learn How to Install a Child Seat Before the Baby Comes
Perfect practice makes perfect. Don’t just assume you know how to use your child’s car seat. After all, you know what they say about assuming…
Before buckling your child in, make sure you’ve read the instructions and have no questions about which way the seat should face, which slot the seat beat should run through and how your child should sit. Because when you have a screaming baby five inches from your face, even the most practiced parents become flustered.
While following safe driving rules helps prevent accidents, you can’t control everyone around you. Having your child correctly buckled and secured protects them from the unexpected.
Still not convinced you’re doing it right? That’s okay. Check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s information about car seats and booster seats or visit safekids.org for the latest news about car seats.
Tip 2 – Secure Everything Properly — Boxes, Animals and Yourself
Great, all the kids are in their seats and buckled in.
But, what about those heavy boxes? What about the dog running loose? If you suddenly stop, everything in your car becomes a potential projectile missile.
And the same goes for yourself. Parents that don’t buckle their seatbelts aren’t doing their kids any favors. In the event of an accident, while the kids may come out unscathed, an unbuckled parent doesn’t.
Tip 3 – Distract the Kids, So They Don’t Distract You
We know we just said distracted driving is dangerous — but, we didn’t mean distracting the kids is bad.
Keeping kids occupied lets you keep your eyes and attention on the road. While it’s nice to see kids looking out the window in awe when on a long road trip to new places, this isn’t the case when running errands around town.
The easiest method in the 21st century is the tv show and the iPad. But, that isn’t everyone’s reality.
Try introducing I Spy games. Have them count the number of signs you pass. How many red cars have we passed? Or purchase simple hand-held puzzle games. Anything to get them to stop harassing you — the driver.
Tip 4 – If You Need to Help, Pull Over
Sometimes the distractions don’t cut it. Or your newborn won’t stop screaming. At times, the kids won’t stop fighting.
In the instances when you need to step in and help, pull over. While you think it may just be a quick fix to grab the toy off the floor, that puts you in a compromising position. Same goes for resting a hand on your baby. With one hand occupied and your body in an awkward position, your defensive driving skills are severely compromised.
So, we repeat. If you have to get involved, pull over.
Tip 5 – Never Leave Kids In the Car Alone
Heatstroke, it isn’t just reserved for dogs left in the car. Children left unattended in hot vehicles are also incredibly susceptible to heatstroke.
But, that doesn’t mean you should leave your child in the car with the car running. For toddlers that love to roam, one accidental bump of the parking brake could send your car on a solo-mission you didn’t authorize — with your kids at the wheel.
Just don’t do it, even for a few minutes. Bring your kids with you.