Festive season driving with kids

If you are preparing to embark on a family road trip this festive season but worry about how your children will handle the long trip, you can manage this with some preparation. Not only will this keep your children happy throughout the trip but will also have safety benefits as there will be fewer distractions.

  1. Seating

Ensure your child has the right car or booster seat. Up until the age of two, children need to be in rear-facing child seats. The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, explains: “Should the worst happen and you are in a crash, it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body. As your child grows, in both weight and height, you will need to update your car seats. Ideally, children under 12 or shorter than 150cm, should sit in the rear and use a booster seat.

“Those older than 12 and adults also need to be seated properly. Seatbelts should always be on with the lower part across the pelvis not the stomach. The upper part should go across the chest and collarbone and not touch your face or neck. Never put the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm. Lastly, feet should never be on the dash.”

  1. Vehicle maintenance

Ensure all your maintenance is up-to-date. “This includes a number of vehicle checks such as coolant, tyre condition and pressure, and any other maintenance that may have been neglected recently. A break-down is stressful at the best of times but when you are hundreds of kilometres from home with a car of kids in tow it becomes that much worse. Visit a workshop that offers free safety checks to get extra peace of mind.”

  1. Plan activities

In addition to keeping devices charged and movies downloaded, plan some extra activities. “If digital entertainment does not keep the kids entertained, these will be there as backup. This also includes planning outdoors activities for when you stop for breaks that allow your children to release pent up energy.

“No trip whether down the road to the shop or across the country should be stressful. It adds unnecessary pressure to a journey which could be avoided with a few simple steps to prepare for the trip,” says Herbert.