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What you should never do on short trips with children

Esto es lo que nunca debes hacer en los trayectos cortos con niños

19/08/2021

On many occasions we have addressed the precautions to be taken on long-distance journeys when traveling with children. It is equally important to stress that once we reach our destination, we should still be very cautious, that is, on our everyday trips, the short journeys to and from the beach, the swimming pool, or when visiting a local attraction. These are short, everyday journeys which we do not usually pay attention to, hence taking greater risks than we should. 

"We'll go by car and it's only 5 minutes, you don't need to sit in the car seat" or "you don't need to fasten your seat belt, there are no controls from the house to the beach" are some of the mistakes often made on these short journeys. Find out what you should never do on these journeys, especially when traveling with children:

-It is very important that the child is in a child restraint system, no matter how short the journey. Although there are rules (depending on the country) where it is only compulsory for children to travel in a car seat up to a height of 135 cm, it is best that they use them up to 150 cm, at which point the seat belt can be correctly fastened. 

-Spending little or no time at all to checking that the car seat is correctly installed. You just need to check the car seat, that the belt passes through the appropriate slots or the isofix is correctly anchored, check that the support leg is firm and does not move easily, that the anti-roll bar and the top tether are correctly secured. We recommend checking the installation regularly. Here we address how to check that your child seat is properly fitted. Don't miss our infographic

-Always take the necessary time to correctly position the child in the car seat and properly fasten the seat belt or harness. Both the belt and harness must be in perfect condition, it must not be folded, and must be correctly adjusted and tightened. Here we explain why a tight harness is a safe harness

-No unnecessary risks should be taken and the manufacturer's instructions should be followed at all times. This means that if a car seat can be placed rear-facing and forwards, the child should not be placed in the forward-facing position prematurely. We remind you that children must travel rear-facing until they are at least 15 months old and until they weigh more than 10 kg. Fundación MAPFRE recommends that children should continue to travel rear-facing for as long as possible and at least until the age of 4. If, due to any of the exceptions established by Law, the child must travel in the copilot's seat, the airbag must be deactivated

-Make sure the child does not travel while wet or with sand on the child seat. Remember that, on one hand, the child will be more uncomfortable and, on the other hand, it deteriorates the seat's condition. 

-The child should be fully clothed, with trousers and a T-shirt. The harness could cause sore skin and excessive sweating. We recommend reading the article entitled ‘My child sweats a lot. What can I do to make sure that he/she is more comfortable in the car seat?’.

-Many of these short trips are to the beach or the swimming pool, so you might be carrying more luggage than usual: rubber rings, umbrellas, towels, beach bags. Everything must go in the boot and must not be allowed to reach the passenger area. This is to ensure that nothing will come loose in the event of an accident or when braking sharply. Take a look at this infographic where we address the consequences of carrying loose or incorrectly shaped objects when traveling. 

-Regardless of how short the trip might be, it is important to take water and keep well hydrated. High temperatures lead to significant water loss. Children are most at risk of this and are rarely aware of the need to drink plenty of water. We must also bear in mind.

-Under no circumstances should a child be left alone in the vehicle, as this could lead to heat stroke. It only takes 10 minutes at an outside temperature of 25 degrees for a child to suffer heat stroke inside the vehicle.

-If the trip is by bike or motorbike, remember that young children must always wear a helmet. Caution should also be increased due to the higher vulnerability of these road users. 

-Distractions. No matter how short the journey, do not use a mobile phone while driving or operate the GPS. 

-Zero alcohol, drugs and other substances that affect our ability to drive. No matter how well we know our way or how well we see ourselves. At the wheel, we must aim for 0 BAC. Also be careful with medication. We must previously check if it is incompatible with driving. 

On short journeys, be respectful of other road users and comply with traffic regulations at all times. Consider that many of these journeys take place on secondary roads, which is where most fatal accidents occur, and on urban roads, where there are more vulnerable road users. 

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