Long car trips can take a toll on passengers both young and old. However, children have an especially hard time on long car trips due to their inability to sit still for an extended period of time. Boredom and frustration often leads young children to misbehave during long car trips and to engage in potentially dangerous behavior. As a parent, there are several things you can do to keep your child safe on a long car trip.
Just because you may be driving along an empty highway at a consistent speed does not mean it is safe for children to take off their seat belts and walk around the car. Some people mistakenly believe that as long as they are not stopping and starting, it is fine for kids to take their seat belts off since they won’t get thrown back and forth by the force of a stopping car. But letting a child take their seat belt off is never a good idea – there have been far too many cases of freak car accidents occurring on seemingly empty roads, or cases where drivers thought the road was empty but never saw the car coming from behind.
If your child is not heavy enough to sit in a regular seat, make sure they have a proper car seat. If your child finds the car seat uncomfortable, look into other types of car seats that may be more comfortable rather than giving up the car seat. Some children may ask to sit in the front seat so they can get the best view of the road, but do not let your child sit there unless they are the right age and weight. There have been too many reports of children being killed by passenger air bags to give in to a child’s nagging.
The constant refrain of “are we there yet?” and sibling fights in the backseat can be very distracting for the driver of the car since it can cause them to take their attention off the road. To keep the kids from ripping into each other and causing distractions, make sure you provide them with books to read, games to play or movies to watch.
As a parent, being a safe driver is the most important thing you can do on a long road trip to keep your child safe. Driving long distances tends to lull some people to sleep, which is an extremely dangerous state for you to be driving in. If you start feeling sleepy while driving, pull the car over and stretch your legs, stop off at a gas station and get a cup of coffee, or if possible let someone else drive for a while.
This is a guest post by Ryan Embly from the cheap rental cars provider CarRentalExpress.com.