Travel Tips: Safe Driving with Toddlers & Young Children

Travel Tips: Safe Driving with Toddlers & Young Children

From everyday errands, to preschool drop off and doctor’s appointments, parents of young children are destined to be chauffeurs until their tykes are old enough to travel behind the wheel. While parenthood often makes many parents rethink the way they drive, particularly with precious cargo on board, U.S. roadways are hazardous and contribute to thousands of accidents each year. Here are some tips for creating a safe travel environment for young passengers:

Always Buckle Up

 

Buckling up seems like second nature for many motorists and their passengers, but it’s just as important to make sure that young children have adequate and age-appropriate safety seats. Parents often make the mistake of keeping their children in car seats that are too small or moving them to a seat that is too big for their weight and height. Child safety seats should have a five-point harness for optimal safety and parents should always refer to the owner’s manual before graduating their child to a new safety seat.

Additionally, children should remain backseat passengers until they are around 13 years of age and booster style seats are typically not used until a child reaches the age of four. Not sure about your seat? When in doubt, always consider having the safety seat inspected by a professional to ensure it’s in good working condition and installed properly. Always encourage buckling up, as good safety habits start young.

Eliminate Distractions

 

Roadway distractions can have deadly results. Distracted driving accidents seem to make the news on a daily basis and for good reason, it’s a problem of epic proportions. While many people still consider texting and driving to be the biggest offender of distracted driving, anything that diverts your mind, hands, or eyes from driving is considered a distraction (yes, even your young passengers). In order to keep your focus on the road, eliminate as many distractions as possible. While you can’t always control or predict when your toddler may have a tantrum or demand another snack, try to make sure that he or she is settled (or even napping) before you start traveling. If you have an older child or another adult in the car, put him or her in charge of attending to the younger children.

 

Need to grab a bite to eat, tell a friend you’re running late or need to check directions? Do all of these while your car is safely parked. Don’t put your child’s safety on the line because you’re too rushed to pull over to text someone.

Get Enough Sleep

 

Telling a parent of a young child to get enough sleep sounds like a cruel joke, right? Many parents of young children have come to terms that they may not get a solid eight hours until their young brood is grown up and off to college, but sleep deprivation is a big danger on our roads. In a recent survey, moms reported getting less sleep a night than long haul truckers, who are big offenders of drowsy driving. If you haven’t had adequate sleep, avoid driving. If you can’t avoid traveling, relinquish your driving duties to someone else, take a short nap, or consider alternate travel modes.

Categories: Toddler

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