Everything you need to know about travelling with small children
Driving long journeys with small children can be a challenge if you’re not prepared. Here’s everything you need to know about travelling with children to help you have a successful, and stress-free, road trip.
The car seat law has changed
You may not be aware but the child car seat law has recently changed. The law affects the type of car seat your child will need. For babies, you must use a rear-facing seat until the child reaches 15 months old. For small children, you can now purchase a car seat based on their height or their weight. Once your child weighs more than 22 kg and is taller than
125 cm, they can only start to use a backless booster seat. If you’re unsure, this child seat calculator from RAC can help you select the right car seat for your child. It’s important to choose the correct one as it’ll keep them safe and stop yourself from being at risk of a hefty fine.
Drive at night, if you can
If you’re dealing with babies and toddlers, it can be a good idea to travel during their bedtime. If it’s possible to do so, driving at night can have its benefits. A quiet, calm journey can be accomplished with ease if the child is sleeping and the fact that the roads are less congested is a bonus. Do make sure you don’t drive tired as this can be dangerous. You’d much rather a noisy child in a safe environment than a quiet child who is put in danger.
A four-hour journey can easily turn into six
Without the unexpected traffic jams or refuelling petrol, you may find that a small toilet call from the back seat can really add time onto your journey. Tackle this with short but regular pit stops. You should give yourself enough time for a comfort break and to stretch your legs. Scheduling regular breaks will stop accidents or unplanned side-of-the-road stops from disrupting the flow of your journey. Do make time for these breaks as they are as important for you as they are for your young child.
Kids get hungry – fast
Stop the sudden meltdowns and bring snacks and drinks with you. As we all know, eating is a great distraction, time killer or bribe. Crisps, sandwiches, cheese squares; pack your bag with delicious bite-size treats. Before you leave, make a bowl of blueberries, grapes, bananas and apples or any fruit that isn’t going to create a colourful mess. These are a great sweet option, as you avoid the unruly sugar high you don’t want in a small space.
Your car will be untidy
Games, magazines and snack wrappers; sometimes, the most exciting part about travelling is the chaos. But, it’s important to not let it get out of control. Although you may want to keep your car looking neat and fresh, on a road trip it’s time to embrace the mess. If you can’t bear the rubbish for a whole journey, bring a bin bag with you so you can clean up as you go. This will help keep the car clean, of course, but odour free too.
You need to be prepared
As a parent, you’ll know how important it is to be organised. But, when you’re travelling, being prepared is even more paramount. To speed up this process for trips to come, make a checklist of all the things you need to take with you. This is useful when you’re in a hurry as you won’t have to rely on yourself remembering the essentials off the top of your head. If you have the means, you could also pack a travel bag. In the bag, store wet wipes, games, toys, blankets, a change of clothes and anything else you think you’ll need on a road trip. Keep it in a safe place so you can just grab and go.