Nine handy tips for travelling safely with children

Travelling with kids can be downright stressful. By the time you’ve packed everything into the car (including them) it can feel like you’ve climbed a mountain. And that’s before you have even pulled out of the driveway!

A survey by Admiral Insurance revealed that 34% of parents admitted they feel anxious before going on car journeys with their children and 2% said their kids’ behaviour has almost caused a road traffic accident. It’s not surprising little ones get frustrated on long journeys, but misbehaviour can be distracting, dangerous and stressful for drivers. 

Here at Emerald Law, we deal with hundreds of road traffic accident cases every year. With this in mind, we’ve put together some key tips and advice to help ensure your trip is safe and smooth. 

Before you set off

  • Choose the right car seat: It can be a minefield knowing which car seat to choose and the plethora of options can quickly lead to overwhelm. However, they are essential for safely carrying your kids. Fortunately there are handy resources out there to help. Check out childcarseats.org.uk which has been created with the support of the Department of Transport to give parents a helping hand when choosing a car seat. This is packed with useful tips and advice to help you decide which one to get, how to fit it safely in your vehicle, and guidance about carrying other people's children.  It also offers information about the current legal requirements in Britain.
  • Beat the boredom: A lot of the time squabbles and misbehaviour erupt because kids are just downright board, especially on long journeys. Make sure you pack plenty to keep them entertained in the way of books, games and activities. Many sites have downloadable resources. Click here for games from the AA and here for free colouring pages.
  • Set  ground rules: Before you set off put some rules in place: no squabbling, shouting or arguments. The kids will know before they set off what the boundaries are and be more aware that they need to be good while travelling.
  • Feeling peckish?: Make sure you pack snacks (go easy on the sugar and pack healthy options) and essentials such as wet wipes, paper towels and a rubbish bag. Travel bottle warmers are convenient for those travelling with babies. There are different options such as one that can be heated by being plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter socket.
  • Take a break: Take frequent stops and if time allows, build in some roadside attractions along the way that will keep the journey fun and interesting.

On the way

  • Welcome break: Service stations will offer a welcome break and many have children’s playgrounds where the kids will be able to let off steam after being cooped up. To check which service stations have play areas and for general information visit www.motorwayservices.info.
  • Stop the squabbles: If squabbling between the kids does break out, pull over when it is safe to do so and try to calm the situation. It’s not safe to drive in stressful situations and you risk a collision so remind them of the rules and don’t get back on the road until things have calmed down.
  • Handy gadgets: Attach an additional mirror in the back so you can keep an eye on the kids. There are several on the market specifically designed for this purpose.Removable shades for the window will help protect delicate eyes from the glare.
  • Quiet time: Once the novelty of car games and colouring has worn off, iPads or laptops loaded with a selection of films will ensure a bit of quiet time, giving you the opportunity to concentrate on the journey.