We are all super confident in driving until we are left with a bunch of kids in the car and are responsible for their safety. Driving with children in the car can be quite challenging, especially if they are below the age of 5. Dealing with their requests, needs or the likely tantrums is not easy. Before even you know it, you will be multitasking inside the car. This is extremely distracting and can prove to be dangerous for everyone in the car.
To avoid extra stress in such situations and to have a happy ride with your kids, here are a few things that you can ensure before you take them out for a drive -
1. A seat belt is a must! Yes, sometimes going back to the basics will help you a great deal. It’s a simple step but many people tend to take it for granted. Always make it a point to put the seat belt on for the children when driving the car. Seat belts have been the savior for most people in cases of road accidents. Hence stay attentive throughout your journey. Front seat or rear seat, no belt, no go - is the best rule to follow.
2. Make sure that children below the age of 12 always sit in the rear seat of the car. You could get a booster seat for your kid which is a safer option. This holds true especially for children below the age of 5. With a booster or child seat, in addition to the protection, the child can have a better outside view and may therefore not trouble you as much !
3. Never leave your children alone in the car. This has multiple risks. From heat strokes to breathlessness, you are, in essence, endangering your kid’s life by leaving them alone in the car. Rising heat is not the only concern here. Your kid could accidentally remove the handbrake or get stuck in the seat belt. Not to mention the risk of any wrong-doers getting them to open the car from inside. The scenarios are endless and the only way to prevent this from happening is to never leave kids alone in unattended cars
4. Plan your drive. If you are on a road trip with your family, then make sure you have planned your trip properly so that your kids stay occupied and eventually, fewer tantrums. Bring as many toys as you can, your kid’s favourite food or anything to keep them engaged. This way, you can focus on driving without distractions. Do also plan adequate stops for restroom or stretch. Children can bore easily in a drive and may need more frequent stops than adults.
5. Leave enough space between you and the car in front of you. You want to give yourself enough space to avoid hits and accidents. Jam-packed cars in front of you will not give you any space to manage and avoid hits. Hence try not to stick to the car in front of you. Sudden jerks could be dangerous for your children even if they are in a booster seat as they could be thrown forward and be injured in this process.
6. Don’t text or eat or drink or chat. Avoid distractions as much as you can. This way, you can remain focused for long hours. Take a break from driving if you want but don’t try to do everything together. This is also important behaviour for you to model for your children to follow later when they reach driving age. Early lessons watching you drive safe will stay with them for long.
7. Avoid having your child on your lap while driving. If something unfortunate were to happen, your child will have to deal with the impact. Even if the drive is for a shorter duration, never take such risks.
Many tragic accidents have been avoided because of some simple, inexpensive safety precautions. Hence make the journey as enjoyable as you can for your kids while ensuring these safety measures.