Driving with young children can sometimes be stressful when trying to keep an eye on both them and the road. This week is back-to-school for many and a new wave of under-fives will be going to nursery. Here are some safety tips for driving with young children from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman.
- Child car seats are a must. A child must use a car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first. There are different legal conditions around the type of child seats you can use based on the age and height of your child. If you’re unsure, seek professional advice from a child seat provider. You can find out more via http://www.goodeggcarsafety.com/
- Make sure your child is as comfortable as possible and take off any thick coats as they can interfere with the correct operation of the child seat in a collision. Consider getting an extra child rear view mirror if you like to keep an eye on what’s happening on the back seat. Make sure it doesn’t obscure your forward view
- Pack for success. Bring your child’s favourite toys, games or books to keep them entertained whilst riding in the car. Playing games such as ‘I spy’, allows the child’s focus to be on the surroundings, making it easier for you to get to your destination. Be careful to not get distracted yourself
- Pack lots of small and healthy snacks. In case of a delay you want to be prepared.Keeping a cooler bag with you packed with nibbles like carrot sticks, grapes, raisins, juice boxes is a great distraction
- Plan your journey. Try to arrange stops with the children in mind and let them burn off some energy.
Richard said: “If travelling a long distance try to arrange your travel to coincide with nap time or bed time – this may make for a more relaxing drive for you and the children. For short journeys encourage simple games. It not only distracts but can be educational too.”
“Sometimes the entertainment is just listening to the conversations your children have when they think you are not listening. There are lots of blogs and tips on websites such as Mumsnet and Gransnet on achieving in-car happiness. And remember that if you do have to stop, make sure it’s in a safe place for you, your passengers and other road users.”