It’s that time of year again! With schools set to close for midterm break, it’s a perfect opportunity for you to plan a well-earned family trip.
Just remember a car journey with kids on board requires a little more planning; you have to keep those inquisitive minds entertained! It needn’t be stressful though – follow our handy guide and your road trip will be smooth sailing all the way.
Before you go:
Check the battery, oil levels, lightbulbs, and ensure your spare tyre is both fully inflated and accessible.
First things first; do a quick scan of your car before you set off. Check the battery, oil levels, lightbulbs, and ensure your spare tyre is both fully inflated and accessible. If you’re using bike or roof racks, ensure they’re securely attached. You should always keep an emergency car kit in the boot regardless, with the likes of bottled water, black sacks, jump leads, a torch and a fuel can inside. But with little ones on board, it’s worth adding a first aid kit, plus whatever medicines you’d keep in the house (Calpol, Panadol Junior etc).
What to pack:
Keep excited little ones entertained with plenty of toys, books and stickers – but avoid anything with little pieces, as the likelihood is that these will very quickly get lost under seats! Bring snacks; fruit and nuts over chocolate and sweets if possible – remember you’re aiming to avoid those sugar highs! Pack carefully, and avoid obstructing your rear-view mirror by piling bags up above the back seat.
Pack carefully, and avoid obstructing your rear-view mirror by piling bags up above the back seat.
Child safety seats:
Guidelines around seats are based on your child’s weight, rather than age. For babies up to 13kg/29lbs, you need a rearward facing baby car seat. For children between 9-18kg/20-40lbs, a forward facing child seat is required. At 15-25kg/33-55lbs, a child upgrades to a booster seat, before finally a booster cushion for 22-36ks/48-79lbs. Find out more here. Before you set off, ensure everyone is securely strapped in, be it in a seat as detailed above, or correctly wearing their seatbelt.
On the road:
Remember that as it’s mid-term, there’ll be more children playing on the street, so keep that speed down.
First up, allow for a longer journey time than usual. There may be numerous toilet stops, and you’ll need to find nappy changing facilities for babies. A few minutes every couple of hours where kids can stretch their legs and get some fresh air (and ice-cream!) will do them the world of good. If the allure of all those toys begins to wear off, music is often just as entertaining. Finally, as you’re driving, remember that as it’s mid-term, there’ll be more children playing on the street, so keep that speed down.
If you’d like more information on travelling safely with the family in tow, check out our downloadable guide from MummyPages.