Now that the vacation has come to an end, are you prepared for the return journey? Do you know what steps you should take in order to have a pleasant return journey by car with your children? As well as following a series of recommendations for how to take our first summer trip, the return journey is of course equally as important, which is why we should also take on board these tips.
- Plan the route you intend to take: choose a good time when there will be less traffic and when the highways will be safer. Also plan your rest stops: It is a good idea to stop every 2 hours but you should stop as soon as you notice any signs of fatigue at all. If we are traveling with newborn babies or very young children we will surely have to take more frequent breaks. If you are using a bassinet or Maxi-Cosi, we advise taking a break every hour and a half so that the baby can change position and stretch.
- Check your vehicle before starting your journey: Although we will have already checked the vehicle before the vacations, after a long journey, plus all the short trips taken during the summer, we will need to check the vehicle again. Most importantly, check the tyres, brakes and brake fluid.
- When we are returning from a trip, we usually bring back more baggage than we initially took with us. Put all these items in a safe place in the trunk. It is extremely important to have a physical separation between the trunk and the passenger compartment. If there isn't one, make sure that everything is well-secured. The idea is to avoid anything breaking loose and hitting any of the passengers if there is a sudden braking or an accident.
- All the vehicle's passengers should be correctly seated. Legislation requires minors and those under 135cm tall to be seated in a an appropriate, approved child restraint system, on the rear seats.There are only three exceptions: if the rear seats are being occupied by other children in child car seats, if the CRS cannot be installed on those seats, or if the vehicle does not have rear seats. Therefore, we will place the children in child car seats on the rear seats. Take a look here at how to correctly install and secure the child in the seat. Always remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Check the child car seat before installing it: clean it thoroughly and make sure that it is not damaged. If we have not been in an accident or had to pull on the brakes suddenly, it should not be damaged.
- Ensure that children under 4 years old are in child car seats facing the rear. Not all child car seats can be placed in this position. Consult the manufacturer's instructions to see if the CRS you are using can be installed this way. Young children under 15 months old must be seated facing the rear.
- The best place to put a child car seat is on the middle rear seat. However, if our car is equipped with ISOFIX anchorages and the CRS can also use this option, we should choose one of the places (usually one of the two side seats) which has this system, given that we can thus avoid making mistakes when installing it. Here you will find everything you need to know about how to install child car seats with ISOFIX and advice on where a CRS should be installed.
- If we have very small children or children with special needs, it is best for an adult to sit next to them to be able to attend to their needs.
- Remember to have everything to hand that you will need during the journey: food, water, a first aid kit... Keeping hydrated is vitally important, particularly in the case of very young children.
- Children can play with lightweight soft toys but make sure that they do not try to swallow them and that they do not have any sharp parts or edges.