Summer trips are exciting for children and adults alike. We look forward to the summer vacations when we can visit family, or travel to coastal areas or simply take a car journey together as a family.
In order for everything to run smoothly we need to prepare the trip ahead of time by planning the route, the breaks we will be taking on the journey and also how the children can be entertained during our time on the road.
We are going to go over 10 essential points to bear in mind when preparing a car journey with children for this summer.
1. If the child is less than 135 cm tall they must travel in an approved child restraint system suitable for their physical characteristics and it should be installed on the rear seats of the vehicle. We will know that the time has come to change the child seat when the child's head overhangs the seat's backrest and the headrest.
2. If the child can now use a booster or the seat belt itself, remember that it should be properly adjusted. When it comes to booster seats, it is best to purchase a booster seat with a backrest and with side protection for the head.
3. The child car seat must be properly installed and the child must be well-secured by the harnesses or the seat belt, depending on the type of seat.
4. The safest position for children under four years old is to place the seat in a rear-facing position. This will better protect them from injury in the event of a crash.
5. In the case of large families, this advice is important in order to know how to accommodate all the members of your family.
6. Your baggage should be secured in place. These items should go in the trunk, a space designed specifically for packages and which is physically separate from passengers. There should never be any loose items in the passenger cabin as they could fly out at speed in the event of a strong braking or crash. For very young children, we should be careful with small objects, toys or food that they could choke on. We recommend this infographic on the importance of having objects well-secured and in their proper place.
7. When traveling with pets, they must be properly secured as well.
8. We should bring water with us in order to keep hydrated and it is also a good idea to take a first aid kit. If any of the passengers needs medication we should have this within easy reach and should follow the doctor's recommendations for its proper transportation. We have a special section on recommendations for how to travel with children with special needs.
9. It is important to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the vehicle: neither too cold nor too hot. We recommend putting the air conditioning on, but we should make sure the air is not blasting directly onto the child.
10. Taking rest stops is absolutely vital: it is best to stop every 2 hours or 200 kilometers. For newborn babies or very young children we should be taking breaks more often and making the most of these breaks to take the child out of the child seat so they can stretch their legs and relieve their boredom.