This time we are not going to talk about advice aimed at a specific group but rather highlight some issues that are usually overlooked or even forgotten when preparing for a long journey with children as passengers. First, we should point out that children have less physical resistance than adults, and so it is necessary to make more frequent stops so that they can loosen up, stretch their legs and be fed. This will also contribute towards reducing boredom.
Preparing for a long holiday journey is a constant source of stress due to packing, route planning and the departure time and because there are endless details to consider, especially if you are taking small children: changes of clothes, diapers, food, enough water, etc. Remember our article on the subject preparing a trip with babies, so you won't forget anything!
The danger of fastening the harnesses of the child seat incorrectly
We recently spoke about the the dangers of installing a car seat incorrectly, and we produced a list of potential mistakes that anybody could make, with the consequent risk to children's health and safety. Their physical characteristics mean that their heads, necks and vertebrae suffer more than those of adults, as well as the chest and abdomen.
Nevertheless, poorly positioned harnesses can provoke an unexpected problem: suffocating the child. If the harnesses are too loose they can cause postural asphyxia, which means that the child adopts a posture during the journey which interferes with breathing correctly. This posture is most usual when they sleep with the child seat in a vertical position, as the body tends to slump forwards, compressing the chest. If the head also falls forward this can close the trachea and restrict breathing correctly.
On the other hand, if the harnesses are too tight, they can also provoke a case of asphyxia, but this time because the tightness of the harnesses prevents the baby from breathing normally.
The danger of postural asphyxia can also occur when the harnesses are positioned correctly if the child falls asleep in the seat for too long a time, and even if they are traveling in the seat for too many hours. Basically the recommendation is crystal clear: no more than two hours between rest stops, to avoid problems such as the concentration of oxygen in the blood dropping below a dangerous level.
When traveling with children, the recommended stops are not so much for the driver to rest but rather for children to oxygenate themselves and move around in preparation for facing the next stage of the journey in safety.