6 Tips for Long Road Trips with Kids
1. Factor in time for pit stops
Don’t try to crush a several-hour driving marathon to get there quickly. Children need frequent breaks to use the restroom, have a healthy meal - and release their pent-up energy. Look for signs of restlessness and stop before kids get too out of sorts.
2. Make sure kids stay buckled up, the whole time
Help keep your kids safe by making sure your child is buckled up every time, for every ride. As older kids get restless, they may unbuckle themselves during a long drive. Make sure you’re checking periodically throughout the trip, not just when you first pull out of the driveway. After every rest stop or meal, ensure kids are buckled up before you head back on the road.
3. Bring games - and dust off your creativity
Age-appropriate hand-held games and books can be good diversions for your children on long trips. Find audiobooks the whole family can listen to during the trip. Recall games you played during road trips with your parents. Did you spot license plates from different states? How about a game of I Spy? Start a guessing game like 20 Questions.
4. Pack healthy snacks
Make sure each child has a refillable water bottle for the journey, plus healthy snacks they enjoy, like fruit, cheese sticks or yogurt. Choose age-appropriate snacks that won’t be a choking hazard, so you can focus on the road.
5. Bundle up safely
For the best protection in a car seat, your child’s harness should fit snugly. A bulky coat can create extra space between the child and their harness, increasing risk of injury in a crash. To keep your child safe and warm on the ride, dress your child in a lighter jacket and place a blanket over the harness if needed.
6. Before you go: Check that they’re in the right seat
A car crash can happen anywhere, anytime - so the right car seat for your children’s age and size is always important. Any upcoming road trip can be a good reminder to double-check that they’re in the right seat for their safety - and that it’s installed correctly.
Enter your child’s age, weight and height at NHTSA.gov/TheRightSeat to check if they’re in the right seat.
Enjoy your road trip with the family using these tips, and you’ll all be safer and happier. Trips like these can be memorable for all the right reasons, and you and your kids may even have fun along the way.