Road tripping with kids is fun and exciting. It promotes family bonding, improves language development in children, increases your kids’ geography understanding, boosts visual skills, teaches history, helps create lasting memories, and teaches the young ones to be patient while pushing them out of their comfort zone. A family road trip gives you the freedom to explore and allows everyone to enjoy the outdoors.
8 Mistakes to Avoid on Your Next Road Trip with Kids
However, some common mistakes parents make can compromise safety, spoil the fun, and ultimately the overall road trip experience. This article outlines eight common mistakes to avoid when road tripping with kids.
1Not getting car seats
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in kids. In 2020, 607 children aged 12 and below were killed in car crashes in the U.S., and over 63,000 were injured. Of the kids who died in the crash, 38% weren’t buckled up. Road tripping with kids without buckling them compromises their safety by increasing the risk of death or injuries in case of a road crash.
However, ensuring that your young ones are correctly buckled up in size, and age-appropriate seat belts, booster seats, and car seats can help minimize the risk of death and severe injuries. You can find quality car and booster seats for all ages at diono.com or other preferred vendors.
2Being careless with car seats
Statistics indicate that 49% of kid safety seats in the United States are improperly installed or misused. A wrong recline angle, harness slack, and loose installation are typical rear-facing infant and convertible car seat mistakes. In forward-facing car seats, harness slack, loose installation, and harness straps behind a child’s arm, back, or leg are common misuses. A lap belt positioned across a child’s ribcage or abdomen, a shoulder belt behind a child’s back or arm, and a kid’s head above the car seat back are common child booster seat misuses.
Using the wrong car seat, improper car seat installation, not getting the safety seat assessed by a professional, transitioning kids to the safety seat stage too soon, and using the wrong car seat accessories are other car seat mistakes that risk your child’s safety. Avoiding these mistakes can help ensure your kids are safe in the car.
3Not preventing car sickness
Car sickness is a type of motion sickness and is common in kids. It may cause fatigue, an upset stomach, vomiting, loss of appetite, or cold sweat, destroying the road tripping experience. However, taking preventive measures can help avoid this problem. Before leaving for the trip, consider giving your child anti-motion sickness medicine such as Dimenhydrinate, including Dramamine. While you can without a prescription, it’s advisable to seek advice from your doctor.
Minimize sensory input by encouraging your kids to focus on things outside the car instead of concentrating on screens, games, or books. Ensuring adequate air ventilation can also help prevent motion sickness. If your kids start developing car sickness symptoms, stop the vehicle immediately and allow them alight and walk around. Lying down on their backs with their eyes closed can also help. You can also put a cool cloth on the kid’s forehead to help ease the sickness.
4Allowing kids to eat as you drive
Letting your children eat as you drive is dangerous. It increases the risk of choking. And most importantly, you might not notice it until it’s too late. When you see your kid choking, you must stop the car immediately to tend to them. However, it might not be possible or safe to pull over immediately, putting your child’s life in more danger and distracting you from focusing on the road.
Eating in a moving car may cause motion sickness. To ensure your child’s safety, don’t allow them to eat while you’re driving. If they must eat, find a safe place to park your vehicle. Don’t allow them to overeat and avoid spicy foods, which may lead to car sickness.
5Not planning your routes in advance
While you can rely on technology to guide you during the road, it might not be the best option because it may result in extended delays, a boring drive, and direction stress, compromising your overall experience. Nevertheless, planning a family road trip route familiarizes you with where you’re going and ensures you don’t get lost. When traveling with kids, you want to be creative with your routes to make it fun for them.
While a motorway route may be faster with quick-moving traffic, restaurants, and service stations, a scenic route would be more imaginative as it lets the kids explore. Instead of taking a direct route, consider making stop-offs to allow you and the children to get fresh air, relax, and enjoy a break from the vehicle.
6Not getting your vehicle checked
Whether you’re on top of your car maintenance routine or not, preparing your car before road tripping is essential. Going on a road trip without getting it inspected by an experienced mechanic increases the possibility of breakdowns and accidents along the way. This risks your family’s safety, especially when driving at night or when the car malfunctions in the middle of nowhere. Getting the brakes, tires, fluids, air conditioning system, and suspension and steering system checked can keep your car running smoothly while ensuring a safe, enjoyable road trip.
7Not taking regular breaks
While car seats help save lives, young children and babies shouldn’t be in a car seat for over two hours at a go because they may experience breathing issues kept in a scrunched or seated position for an extended period. Regular stops are vital for bathroom breaks, food, diaper changes, and blood flow. It also lets you stretch your body while breaking the drive’s monotony. To make the most of these stops, you can have the kids and everyone else engage in fun activities. You can get them to play in a local park for 15 to 20 minutes. This will rejuvenate their spirit.
8Not preparing for any entertainment
Keeping the kids entertained as you drive ensures they have a good time and aren’t bored. You can download movies, songs, and educational games or back some books to keep them busy. However, if they’re prone to car sickness, get them to listen to music or audiobooks because staring at devices and books can make them sick.
While traveling with children is fun, some mistakes can get in the way of a good time. Consider avoiding these mistakes when road tripping with kids to ensure a memorable experience.