Car Travel Tips for Parents Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fridays in the summer are some of the busiest travel days of the year. These tips will help keep your family safe and occupied as you hit the road for final road trips before school begins.

Know before you go:

Before you head out on the road, make sure to call a friend or family member to tell them the details of your travel so, if something happens or you don’t make it to your destination on time, they will know what to do. Also, don’t leave the driveway without securing all loose items that may become projectiles in a crash. Another way to keep kids safe during a road trip is to make sure your child fits in his or her child safety seat and that it is properly installed.

When you finally hit the road, make sure you’re prepared to be the entertainer!

Tips for the road:

  • Use your child’s nap schedule to your advantage
    • For long car rides, leave an hour or so before his or her nap time so you can maximize the peaceful atmosphere
  • Never leave a child alone in the car, even if it is a quick run into a rest stop
  • Bring a small backpack of toys and activities for on-the-road entertainment:
    • Books, coloring books, comfort toys, DVDs, or MP3 players are useful for keeping children occupied on long trips
  • Use child safety locks while the vehicle is in motion
  • Messes are bound to happen while traveling with kids. Keep a bag of wipes, hand sanitizer, and disposable bags for dirty diapers nearby
  • Pack healthy snacks for the road and avoid unhealthy fast food options at rest stops

Car sickness at some point during a road trip is almost inevitable. Here are some tips on how to treat it:

  • Stop frequently and at the first sign of symptoms
  • Before leaving home, give your child some crackers or other light snacks
  • Avoid smoking or carrying any strong-smelling foods in the car
  • Elevate your children (with approved child safety seats or booster seats), so that they can see the horizon through the windshield
  • Distract young children with activities that keep them from looking downward

Finally, prepare for emergencies by memorizing the Poison Control phone number, 800-222-1222, and have a copy of your child’s medications list on hand.

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