If you're planning to move and you have children in tow, you'll want to take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety and comfort. This is especially true if you are going long distances. To help, here are some tips when traveling with young kids.
Get the right car seat
Whenever you drive with a child who requires a car seat, you want to make sure that you have the right kind and that you've installed it properly. When moving, however, your car is likely weighed down with boxes and drives somewhat differently than it normally would, thereby increasing the danger of driving. As such, you'll want to take a moment before moving to make absolutely sure that you are employing proper car seat safety.
According to the U.S. Department of transportation, only a small fraction of parents actually have the right car seat for their child. The department noted that as children grow, so must a car seat increase in size, and that parents should constantly be aware of how well their son or daughter fits their seat. For example, any child under a year should have a rear-facing car seat, while those under 3 should have a forward-facing booster seat. Additionally, not all boosters and chairs are designed to fit every car. Parents should consult safecar.gov for further information.
Secure all boxes
Loose boxes and other goods can pose a danger to the safety of a child. Any containers in the back seat should be properly secured so it can't fall over. Additionally, there shouldn't be any substantially heavy or loose items that could become a flying hazard in the incident of a sudden stop, turn or a crash. Remember that even items that seem relatively to an adult can pose a threat to children.
Keep clothes and food within reach
If you plan to drive in cold weather, you want to make sure you have easily accessible warm clothes. In addition to bundling up your child at rest stops or restaurants, you may find yourself stranded on the side of the road or stuck in a snow drift during snowy weather. For this reason, you'll also want to have snacks on hand.
When you are traveling in warmer, southern climes, food and water still remain essential in case your car breaks down. No matter the temperature, however, it's also a good idea to bring sunblock on sunny days. You and your children can still get burned in cold climates, especially when the sunlight reflects off snow.
Don't leave unsupervised
Even if you are leaving the car for just a minute - whether to use a restroom or buy a candy bar - don't leave your child unattended in a vehicle. While someone may break into the car while you're gone, the more likely scenario is exposing a child to the elements without any heat or air conditioning. The situation only gets worse if you accidentally lock yourself outside of the car with them in it. To prevent this situation, you may want leave one other person in the car with a young child if you are traveling with a spouse or other family, or take your child inside with you.
Make frequent bathroom stops
Your driving schedule should anticipate routine bathroom stops. While you may be able to drive a long time without having to go, children will likely have to go more frequently. Even if no one seems to need a visit a facility, be sure to pull over every couple of hours just in case.