Safe Car-Travel Tips with Kids

By Angela Monroe - October 14, 2020

Safe Car-Travel Tips with Kids header

Road trips with kids are exciting. Here’s how to keep them exciting – and make them safe.

We list some tips on how to have a safe road trip with kids.

1: Plan Your Journey

woman looking at map

Travelling by road in Australia is an amazing experience. It’s easy to spend more time than expected at places along the way. Check on a map application like Google Maps for driving times and research the sights your kids might like along the way.

Arriving at an unfamiliar place at night after a long day on the road is tough. 

  • Leave early in the morning
  • Allow more than enough time
  • Plan stops at interesting locations, allowing enough time
  • Avoid driving at night to help prevent animal strikes on the road

Stopping regularly and rotating seats, having a bite to eat and stretching your legs is a win in anyone’s books.

As the signs say: ‘Stop, revive, survive’.

Did You Know: The world’s longest highway – we have it. Australia’s Highway 1 which almost circumnavigates the country is over 14,500km. It’s known as ‘the big lap’.

2: Don’t Eat in the Car

spilling coffee

If you’ve planned your journey as per the tip above, you won’t have to eat in the car. Eating in the car is tricky for kids – especially with drinks and food that can spill easily. Spilled food and drinks make bad smells and make car interiors sticky. Even worse in hot weather.

By allowing regular stops along the way, your family will be able to avoid the all-too-common ‘I’m hungry’, ‘I’m thirsty’ complaints.

3: Airbags

airbags

Airbags are key components of vehicle safety systems. They can however, cause injuries. One of the ways they cause injuries is when objects get caught between an airbag and a passenger. Phones, iPads, colouring pencils and books are examples.

Imagine putting your phone between your head and pillow, it wouldn’t be very comfortable. Times that with the explosive force of an airbag and you can see where the injuries come from.

Keep kids in the back seats if they’re using things like phones and iPads and make sure these items aren’t being held near an airbag.

Did You Know: Airbags have saved over 2700 lives in Australia alone.

4: Entertainment

infotainment in car

Car manufacturers put hours and hours of thought into quality entertainment accessed safely. If your vehicle has screens or iPad holders built into the backs of the front seat, use them as they’re designed to be safe and kid-friendly.

As mentioned, in the tip above, loose devices can be a danger in the event of an airbag being deployed.

Podcasts and audio for kids are another great idea when on road trips with kids. There are some interesting and educational podcasts that really make for a calm atmosphere on a long trim. They won’t need a separate device either if you play it through your car’s audio.

5: Prepare For the Climate

travel items

Australia has some pretty variable temperatures, especially when travelling north or south. Canberra to Sydney is a good example. The climate gets a lot warmer travelling north.

This comes down to planning so make sure you and your passengers have the clothes and equipment they need to enjoy the trip.

Try to pack items that you might need to access quickly near the opening of your bags or somewhere easy to find. For example, jackets and walking shoes – you might put them in a small bag separate from the main luggage so kids can get to them quickly and without pulling other items out. 

6: Secure Loose Items

kids toys

If you’re travelling on a rural road or off the main highways, bumps and vibrations often occur. This can cause loose items like water bottles, phones, coins, pens and pencils to rattle and make noises. Although the noise is more annoying than dangerous, it can cause a worrying and tense atmosphere among kids as they associate loud rattling with problems.

The added danger is loose items acting as shrapnel in the event of an accident.

Make sure you secure loose items in the glovebox or other storage areas. Tying cutlery together with a rubber band is a good idea.

The Bottom Line:

man and son on dodgem car

Preparation is key to safe and enjoyable road trips with kids. Make sure you do your homework. There are tons of great road trip apps that can really make a difference by solving all kinds of problems. The best way to enjoy Aussie road trips with kids is to go to the right place at the right time, with the right amount of time, with the right preparation.

Angela Monroe
Angela Monroe is the Community Manager at The Positive Group, specialising in giving people the information that they need when they need it, and putting you on the path to a fair financial future. She has 8 years of experience in helping Australians find the right finance solutions, and regularly contributes articles to empower Australians with the knowledge they need to become financially healthy.

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