Travelling with children can be a challenge, especially if they can be loud and unruly – planning ahead and taking proper precautions will make for a smooth ride.
Sitting behind the wheel of a car means that you must be in complete control of your vehicle and aware of your surroundings at all times. Contending with other drivers can present enough of a challenge with any other distractions, which is why ensuring that you drive safely and efficiently when children are present is important.
Younger children are often more prone to outbursts or require regular comfort breaks – this must all be taken into account before setting off.
Before the start of any journey, as the driver, you should know the exact route you are taking and aware of any stops along the way, especially on longer drives. When travelling with children, try and map out a route with regular gas stations – not only will does this allow for comfort breaks and a chance to stretch their legs, this will also reduce the possibility of running out of fuel.
With technology that is now available to us, it is possible for the quickest and gas-efficient route to be calculated for us instantly on a SatNav or other types of vehicle tracking systems.
If possible, always have another adult in the car with you when driving. Passengers are one of the top distractions for drivers and, without the aid of another adult to lend a helping hand in calming children down when they become excitable, this is a potential hazard.
Motorways present little opportunity to safely pull over and the last thing you want is for the children in your care to open the car next to a busy road – this is, of course, a big reason why vehicles come fitted with child locks as standard. Travelling with another adult, whether a partner or otherwise, means that someone else can keep an eye on younger passengers, leaving you free to focus on the road.
It is very easy to become very bored very quickly, even for adult passengers, so imagine just how short a spell you have until child passengers resort to finding their own amusement. Although this is not always a bad thing, as long as it doesn’t distract the driver, this can result in constant fidgeting, irritability, and full blown tantrums.
Bring amusements, such as toys and portable devices that will keep the kids pre-occupied. Remember to charge any electronics you plan on taking so as the battery does not run out mid-journey and if you fear this is irresistible; pack non-electric toys, books, and activities such as puzzles and coloring books.
Before any journey checks should be carried out on the vehicle, and especially when there are children involved. Ensure that tyres are at optimum pressure with no punctures (have a spare tyre in the event of needing a replacement), the engine is in working order and all lights are working as expected.
If you have any concerns and are not 100% confident that your vehicle will last the journey do not proceed and take to a garage immediately. Roads present more than enough risks without taking into account an unreliable car. Vehicles that are not driven regularly are more likely to require more attention than those that are.
Finally, and most importantly, never leave children alone in the car, even just for a short while. Children should always be with an adult and always in their sight – leaving infants alone presents an opportunity to child abductors and other unsavoury characters. Even if it is just to pay for gas and the car is just outside, take the children with you.
Travelling with children will never be an easy task and can sometimes be a daunting prospect – following this helpful advice will see both you and children in your vehicle remain safe and enjoy the journey.
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