Travelling with kids is never easy, but when you are driving and need to concentrate on the road, it can be even more challenging!
No matter the age of the children, dividing your attention between them and the large chunk of metal you are manoeuvring is something you need to do safely and well, no matter how long your trip might be. Here are some tips to ensuring the best possible journey for you and the children:
Firstly look at car seats if your children are of a young age. Car safety for children includes making sure they wear seatbelts, too.
- General advice is that babies weighing 9 to 18kg should be put in rear-facing child seats either in the front passenger seat or a rear/forward facing child seat in the back seat. It is worth noting that it is safer for children to sit rear-facing. They must also have a three-point seat belt and, if travelling in the front seat, the passenger airbag must be disabled.
- For weighing 15 to 25kg, around age 3 to 6, should be carried in the back seat in a child seats that is fastened with the car’s three-point seat belt.
- Children who are over 135cm tall can sit like an adult in a normal seat with a working seatbelt.
Don’t get distracted
We don’t just mean by the kids fighting in the back seat, but also by phone calls. Remember, it is illegal to text and drive in the UK. If your phone rings, only answer it when you have safely pulled over – not on the road whilst driving and not on the side of the road either. Don’t check texts either.
Be alert at all times
A driver is presented with many challenges and driving at different times of the day is one of those challenges. Driving at night poses a particular danger, especially if you are tired, and even more so if you have a car full of kids. Make sure that on long journeys you take stops, let the kids have a toilet break and a run around in a safe space and give yourself a coffee to keep going. Don’t be afraid to say you are too tired to drive anymore, and get your eyes checked to ensure that you don’t need glasses at night to drive (or indeed at all!)
Keep your car in good condition
You should always have a service and MOT on your car, regardless of whether you have children. Keeping your car in good condition includes checking tyres, brakes, oil, water and don’t forget to make sure the lights are working. If you are unsure about anything, take your car to a local garage. They will be able to check everything over and repair problem areas.
If your car is particularly old, you might want to scrap your car and get a new one. If budget doesn’t allow it, you could buy a second hand car from a reputable dealer, or obtain a car on finance.