“Are We There Yet?” Your Road Trip Safety Check List
By: Ryan Hawker, Safety 1st Car Seat Safety Expert
Gas prices are starting to drop! Yes! Therefore it’s no secret that this summer AAA is predicting more and more people will be hitting the roads for a summer vacation. According to the travel organization, 35% of Americans are planning to take a vacation more than 50 miles from home with two or more immediate family members in the next 12 months.
If you are traveling with little ones a very important tip that most people forget to confirm is that car seat or home safety is a part of the travel check list. Before you hit the road make sure to take a look in the back seat to confirm your child is in the correct child restraint for his or her height and weight, and that the car seat is installed correctly.
In Your Back Seat:
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2. The new Safety 1st Grow and Go EX Air, offers a safer and more comfortable ride with extended use at each stage; including up to 50 pounds rear-facing and 100 pounds in the belt-positioning booster mode. Remember, the safest place to install a car seat, rear or forward-facing, is typically in the center of the rear seat.
- Always make sure your child is secure by keeping the car seat harness snug. Experts test the snugness with the “pinch test”. If you pinch the harness straps at the shoulder and can gather material, it is too lose. Cinch it down. Also, check in with a local Child Passenger Safety Technician to ensure your child’s seat is installed correctly. You can visit a local police department, fire station, AAA office or Safe Kids Chapter for guidance.
- It’s something you rarely think about, but car seats expire! You can find the expiration date on the back or the side of the car seat. Also, if a car seat has been in a crash you should not use it. Plastic can warp, materials can fray and the car seat will not protect a child correctly. Always avoid used car seats. The history of a car seat tells a lot about its ability to protect on the road ahead. If you don’t know where it has been, you don’t know if it can protect your child.
On The Road:
- Road trips often mean long hours in the car, especially when traveling through high volume areas. According to AAA, Fifty-five percent of Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip this year due to lower gas prices, which can lead to more traffic. Make sure your driver is always well-rested and the kids are occupied to reduce distractions. It’s a good idea to keep snacks and activities handy. Also don’t forget a charger for your tablet or iPhone.
- Children don’t always do what they’re told but they do often mimic what they observe. According to Safe Ride 4 Kids, almost 40% of children riding in vehicles with unbelted drivers were not wearing belt restraints at the time of an accident. Set a good example and always use your seatbelt.
- Protect your car like you would protect your home. It’s important to eliminate projectiles and keep them secured in a bag tucked under the seat or in a compartment. Anything in the car that is not secured is a possible projectile in the event that you stop fast. That could be a child’s toy or a water bottle. In a crash, objects take on greater weight due to crash forces.
At Your Destination:
- A great way to help your child adjust to sleeping in a new location is to start the process at home before you leave. If your child will be sleeping in a Play Yard during the trip, use it for bed or nap time the entire week before. This will help him or her get used to a new sleep environment.
- Are you planning on renting a house for your family vacation this summer? Unfortunately, vacation rentals don’t come child-proofed. Sharp corners and dangerous objects are inevitable. Therefore be sure to pack essential child proofing items in your suitcase. Soften the edges of an unfamiliar house with the Foam Bumper Kit. The Easy Install Walk-Thru Gate is great for blocking off new staircases that your little one may want to venture down, and don’t forget Plug Protectors, and door Knob Covers are essential for rooms you don’t want little ones venturing into unsupervised, such as the bathroom.
A big thanks to Safety 1st for all of these great safety travels tips. We continue to love our Safety 1st products and baby 5 will be riding safely in a Safety 1st car seat. What travels tips do you have for the family?
Sponsored post, all opinions are my own.