When you move over 500 miles from your friends and family, you’re forced learn a few things about road trips. I don’t know anyone who gets excited about traveling with babies and kids, but these tips will make it a little less dreadful.
- Safety First
- Make sure that your vehicle is up to date on required maintenance, has proper fluid levels, and air pressure in the tires.
- Double-check the installation of all car seats and boosters. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 75% of car seats are installed incorrectly! If you have any question about whether you have a proper installation, visit a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. There are a few in the Baton Rouge area. You can find their contact information by visiting cert.safekids.org.
- Secure as many loose items as possible. In the event of an accident, loose items can become projectiles and cause injury or even death.
- Leave Early Instead of Late – While it might sound appealing to drive during the night while the kiddos are sleeping soundly, it’s typically safer to avoid the road between the hours of 12 and 4. Statistically, that time period has the highest percentage of fatal accidents due to drunk or drowsy drivers. By 4 am, most impaired drivers are off the road. Another reason to consider driving during the day is that many rest stops and gas stations are less safe during night hours.
- One Stop Shop – There’s nothing worse then realizing you need gas 15 minutes into a nap. Everyone knows that stopping the car is nap sabotage! Never ever stop while the kids are napping. This means that you have to plan ahead a little. Whenever you do need to stop, make sure you do everything. Fill up the gas tank (even if it’s still ¾ full), change and nurse the baby, and grab a bite to eat.
- Get Your Nom On – Make sure you bring lots of healthy, portable snacks to prevent kids (and yourself) from getting hungry and grumpy. Whole grain crackers with cheese slices, fresh fruit and veggies, and trail mix are always big hits. Baby food pouches are the perfect mess-free option for toddlers.
- Here We Are Now, Entertain Us – Avoid hearing “Are we there yet?” every few miles. Books, portable DVD Players and tablets are a good option for keeping kids distracted. Many popular board games also have magnetic travel versions. I still love the good-ole-fashioned alphabet game that involves finding every letter in order on signs, billboard, or other vehicles.
- Don’t Push It – If you have young children, expect your trip to take about one extra hour for every three hours of driving time. Keep this in mind when budgeting the amount of time it will take you to reach your destination. Typically, young kids can tolerate about 6 hours of drive time in any given day.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – As a parent, you already know a thing or two about needing to be flexible with your plans. This is never truer than when you’re traveling. There will be bumps in the road. So, take a few deep breaths and prepare for an adventure!
Well we’re about to break the all night travel rule as we travel to Florida next week with our 6 and 8 year old. We are leaving after supper. It’s a tough call, but driving at night is a little bit easier with less traffic and more sedate kids. And also, you get to Orlando not at rush hour, which is good. When my kids were 2 and 4, we drove for 24 hours to get from Baton Rouge to Colorado. It was insane, but the kids did really great. Did I mention one was potty training? All of the little aggravations lead to great stories to tell later on, though. I could write a book about that trip. Great tips, Ashley!
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