Long journeys can become even longer with small children in the car. Sally Kreuscher, child advocacy program coordinator with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, says there are ways to keep kids safe and entertained in the car. “When children travel to us or we travel out of state with our children, we need to know the laws of the state that we’re traveling to.”
No matter when you travel, it’s important for children always to be buckled. “Many times families travel at night so the child can sleep and we can focus on the road. Make sure your child is restrained to the car seat and the car seat is restrained to the vehicle properly,” said Kreuscher.
The safest place for a child is in the center of the back seat, but not all vehicles allow for a car seat in the middle and not all car seats are designed to fit in the middle seat, so when in doubt read the manual. “We recommend the child be in a car seat until they reach the max height and weight of their seat and then that they sit in the seat belt if the seat belt fits them correctly,” said Kreuscher.
Once the child is safely strapped in, make sure they have snacks, a change of clothes, and toys to keep the child entertained. “You want to keep things in the vehicle that are going to keep kids occupied,” said Kreuscher.
If you have a long trip, plan for plenty of pit stops so children can get out of the car. “You never want to take a child out of the seat, not even for a minute. If a child needs to use the restroom or you need to breastfeed, pull over stop and use that pit stop and make sure that they’re safe,” said Kreuscher.
With all the hustle and bustle of traveling, make sure all items in the vehicle are secure and never leave your child alone in a vehicle.
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