Let kids be kids in the car. Image: IAM Roadsmart
Buyers' advice, Motoring News, road safety

Driving with children: Please, let them be little

  • Tips for long-distance with kids
  • Let them be – have fun listening!
  • Check the legal conditions
Let kids be kids in the car. Image: IAM Roadsmart
Let kids be kids in the car. Image: IAM Roadsmart

By RICHARD GLADMAN
IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards

Driving with young children can be stressful when trying to keep an eye on both them and the road. This week is back-to-school for many and a new wave of under-fives will be going to nursery school and creche.

Here are some safety tips for driving with young children from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman.

Child car seats are a must. A child must use a car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first.

There are different legal conditions around the type of child seat you can use based on the age and height of your child. If you’re unsure, seek professional advice from a child-seat provider. You can find out more by clicking here.

Let kids be kids in the car. Image: IAM Roadsmart
Let kids be kids in the car. Image: IAM Roadsmart

Make sure your child is as comfortable as possible and take off any thick coat – it can interfere with the correct operation of the seat during a collision.

Consider getting an extra child rear-view mirror if you want to keep an eye on what’s happening on the back seat. Make sure it doesn’t obscure your forward view.

Pack for success. Bring your child’s favourite toys, games or books to keep them entertained. Playing games such as ‘I Spy’, allows a child’s focus to be on the surroundings, making it easier for you to get to your destination.

Avoid becoming distracted yourself!

TRAVEL AT NAP OR BEDTIME

Pack lots of small but healthy snacks. In case of a delay you want to be prepared. Keeping a cooler bag packed with nibbles such as carrot sticks, grapes, raisins, juice boxes is a great distraction.

Plan your journey. Try to arrange stops with the children in mind and let them burn off energy.

Gladman points out: “If travelling long-distance try to arrange the journey to coincide with nap or bedtime – this may make for a more relaxing drive for you and the children.

“For a short journey encourage simple games. They not only distracts but can be educational, too. Sometimes the entertainment is just listening to the children’s conversations – they’ll think you are not listening!”

CHECK THROUGH THE BLOGS

Gladman added: “There are lots of blogs and tips on websites such as Mumsnet and Gransnet about in-car happiness. And remember: if you do have to stop make sure it’s in a safe place for you, your passengers and other road-users.”

Find out more about IAM RoadSmart products.

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