Thousands of journeys are forecast to take place this Easter week. Have you thought of everything to ensure your trip is as safe as possible? Listed below are some of the behaviors or actions you should avoid during the long trips typical of Easter week and the summer vacation.
Easter week is one of the most challenging traffic operations of the year, as during a very short period of time there are an extremely high number of road trips, something that tends not to happen in summer when the outbound and return journeys are more staggered.
Road safety and accident prevention are the two essential premises of these journeys. However, mistakes can always be made, which we need to try and avoid.
Advice for long journeys
- Make sure children use the correct child restraint system:
From a regulatory point of view, remember that if a child is not seated in the correct child seat you can be fined 200 euros and have three points deducted from your driving license.
The law states that children up to 135 cm in height must not only travel in a child restraint system suitable for their height and weight, according to the law, but must also travel in the back seat except if the vehicle has no back seats, if all the back seats are already occupied by other children with the same characteristics, or it is impossible to install any form of child restraint system in these seats.
- Ensure the child seat is fitted properly and that the child is strapped in correctly:
Never rush this process. Just as you would spend time ensuring that all the luggage is secured properly, you should also spend time ensuring that the child seat is perfectly fitted and the child is strapped in correctly. A poorly-affixed child seat is an unsafe child seat and will not be effective in the event of an accident. Find out how to check that your child seat is properly fitted.
The same applies to harness fastenings. Harnesses must be properly tightened to prevent the child from "coming loose" during the journey. Here are the reasons why a tight harness is a safe harness.
The child should not be wearing an overcoat or other bulky clothing which might give a false impression of the tightness of the harness.
- Never position a rear-facing child seat in the front passenger seat without disabling the passenger airbag:
If, for any of the three reasons given above, you are forced to put the rear-facing child restraint system in the front passenger seat, you must disable the airbag. The consequences of failing to do this can be very serious if there is an accident, as it could trap the child in the seat.
Check that the car definitely has the possibility of disabling the front passenger seat airbag. Not every model offers this option.
- Try to ensure the luggage is properly distributed and secured:
Avoid having any loose objects inside the car, as in the case of sudden braking or an accident they will fly around like missiles and may hit the passengers. If you are taking an empty child seat, this must be properly secured as well.
Similarly, any pets must be properly secured.
- Take special care when traveling with new-born babies and infants:
Here you will find all our recommendations for traveling safely with a new-born baby. Remember that the best option is for them to be facing backwards, even up to four years of age.
- Avoid spending too long in the car:
You should stop every hour-and-a-half or two hours, especially when traveling with babies or infants occupying Group 0, 0+ and I child seats. Find out how often you should make stops here.
Although the system known as "Maxi-Cosi" is the safest form of traveling by car for children, it is not the ideal posture to be forced into for hours on end. Its use is recommended for just a couple of hours and it is primarily geared towards ensuring the child's safety during car journeys. Even so, it is still the best option for safe car travel. The best thing is to make regular stops and change the child's position during this time.
- Take care on short journeys:
Whether on a long or a short trip, precautions should be a priority and the child must always travel in a properly affixed and secured child restraint system suitable for its height and weight, however short the journey may be.
- Abide by traffic regulations and drive carefully:
Avoid doing anything that might distract the driver.
- Have everything you may need close at hand:
Food, water, medicines... make sure you have everything you might need during the trip within comfortable reach.
- Have someone sat with the child in the back seat:
It is advisable that very young children or those with special needs have someone else traveling with them in the back seat to give them a hand if necessary.
- Special advice for children with special needs:
Not all children have the same needs. You can find specific advice in our section on "Children with Special Needs".
- Never leave a child alone inside a car:
On a sunny day at a moderate temperature of just over 20ºC outside, the temperature inside the car can easily surpass 40ºC, putting a child's life at risk.
Ten minutes at a temperature of 25ºC are enough for a child to suffer heatstroke, as reflected in the report entitled "Children inside cars and heatstroke in children" (Spanish) drawn up by Fundación MAPFRE and the Spanish Pediatric Association.