We worry an awful lot when it comes to our children, and naturally of course, as they’re our most prized possessions. So, mums and dads, listen up, and let’s talk about how you can travel safely with little ones. Whether you’re popping to the shop or going on a road trip, you’ll not only want to do everything to make sure your child is safe in the car but comfortable too. With this in mind, we’ve spoken to Parenting Expert and Consultant, Auntie K, to equip you with everything you need to know before you strap your child in and hit the road.
Auntie K is a qualified Early Years Practitioner who has acquired a wealth of knowledge and experience, due to over 20 years working with little ones from birth to their teens. Using both her professional experience and personal experience of being a mum, she offers advice to support and reassure regarding all areas of parenting, including travelling safely with children.
Buckle up and let’s get started!
How to Keep Children Safe on Long Car Journeys
No matter whether you’re planning a long or short car journey with your child, following the law is above all. And Auntie K says that not only means having a suitable car seat, but one that’s fitted correctly too, as 66% of child car seats in Great Britain are not fitted properly. She also recommends buying a car seat from retailers such as Halfords, or children’s shops where the team will be trained in car seat safety, so they can show you how to fit it properly.
How to Keep Children Entertained on Long Car Journeys
For all the mummies and daddies scrambling to find ways to keep their children entertained on long road trips – fear not! Auntie K tells us the tricks of the trade to keep them distracted, saying that it’s completely fine to give them a tablet to watch films or play audiobooks. But don’t give your little one snacks in the car, instead, Auntie K says to make sure to stop regularly to feed your hungry cub.
Car Safety Top Tips
When it comes to car safety, Auntie K lets us into her number 1 top tip:
“Not all seats fit all cars, so it is important to use one that fits your car.”
And Auntie K’s wisdom does not end there. She has a couple of other pointers to keep in mind as well, to prepare you and your little one for the road:
- Remove bulky clothing – Auntie K’s wise words are that before you buckle up your child, take off thick winter coats and all-in-one suits, as these can increase the distance between their body and harness.
- Only use blankets after your child has been strapped in – if your bub can’t go without their favourite blankie, Auntie K tells us that blankets should only be laid across them after they’ve been buckled in – never underneath, behind or between the harness straps and your child.
- Never leave your child alone in the car – who could bare to be apart from such a little cutie anyway?
- Activate child locks – even when you’re in the car with your child, so their curiosity remains only a curiosity, Auntie K says to always activate child locks on windows and doors. Regardless of this though, keep checking on them regularly to make sure they’re safely seated and strapped in.
How to Help Children Handle Travel Anxiety
Make your little one feel like a grown-up and involve them in the planning of your trip – it’ll make the process less stressful and more fun. Auntie K tells us that this can help them to feel in control and can be anything from helping you pack to picking the music or film for the car. In the lead up to your trip, why not turn storytime at bedtime into a chance for you to tell your little one about the happy memories you have travelling as a child. Auntie K says to talk to them about how the journey was and what helped you. Assurance is key!
Now it’s time to get giddy about where you’re planning on going. Auntie K suggests Googling the places you’re going to visit and showing your little one to help get them excited. That’s certainly one way to get rid of any fear of the unknown!
Little ones can also feel homesick from time to time, and if your child needs reassuring that they’ll be coming home again, Auntie K says:
“…tell them how many ‘sleeps’ or days you will be away for and remind them that you will be having lots of fun.”
And if you’re going to be in the skies, and your child is feeling nervous about flying, Auntie K recommends talking to them, with the help of books if needed, about what happens when you’re at an airport. She also advises to:
“Explain what happens once on the plane and let older children choose sweets to help with popping ears.”
If you’re interested in learning more from Auntie K, she’s on hand to answer your parenting questions.