Unlike other forms of driving distractions, parents and caregivers cannot simply ignore children while they're in the car. So what are some of the best ways to make sure children are being taken care of while safely transporting everyone from A to B?
Top Safety Tips for Driving with Kids
Distractions from children often happen without warning: a baby starts to cry; a fight breaks out between siblings; or a bored child kicks a seat back or unbuckles to move around. However, a little planning can greatly reduce the opportunities for distractions, including:
- Entertainment. Children often get bored on car rides, and boredom is the gateway for them to start acting up and throwing things. If you don't have an in-car video player to entertain passengers, consider constructing an activity kit with coloring books, word games, math puzzles, and other age-appropriate entertainment.
- Breaks. Taking regular breaks on long car rides alleviates boredom, and also gives children an opportunity to run around and tire themselves out. Parents can feed and change infants while their other children are playing, making it more likely that young passengers will sleep for at least some of the trip.
- Co-pilots. Another adult in the car goes a long way toward minimizing distraction. If one of your children is older than the others, you can also enlist him or her as your second-in-command. This allows you to focus completely on driving the vehicle, and will also teach kids and teenagers how to manage distractions in the car.
- Bring it to a stop. If kids are fighting, having a tantrum, or throwing things, don't try to deal with this distraction while driving. Find a safe place to park, then deal with the matter directly.
Also, it's important to teach your children about the serious responsibility of driving and the patience that requires. If they're demanding that you pick up a dropped toy, juice box, or some other item while driving, you can talk with them about why you need to stay focused, and assure them they'll receive it when you safely reach your destination.
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