Driving With Toddlers And Babies: Mistakes, Hacks, Recommendations

Little children can be very squirmy. All parents know that they would rather not sit in one spot for a really long time, they get exhausted and bored quickly, and they need to be in charge of all your actions! It’s not surprising that the accidents with children in a car happen here and there. How to prevent the worst? MarvelMama offers a few important rules of driving with toddlers and babies. They will save your nerves and your health.  

Typical Mistakes Made By Driving Parents

 Before we get down to discussing the rules of driving with toddlers and babies, let’s observe the most dangerous mistakes made by moms and dads during their road trips.

1. Lack of focus and concentration

Distraction is the major cause of our mistakes and accidents. When driving with toddlers and kids, you should double your attention and keep tabs on the road, not your smartphone. Be alert all the time: it doesn’t matter whether it’s a cross country road trip with a 2-year-old, or a short 10-minute drive to a mall. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimation, on average, distracted driving causes 8,000 crashes a day. Don’t be a part of those statistics.

2. Texting/calling with smartphones

78% of drivers talk on the phone, and 26% of them check text messages during their road trip. A research by University of Utah in Salt Lake City proves that we are 4 times are more likely to get into a car accident when having a cell phone at hand. When we chat and talk, our brain might dismiss such visual information as signs, pedestrians, or brake lights. So mute your phone and leave it on the backseat. Mind the danger of distracted driving.


3. Driving on less sleep than…well, anyone!

Young moms are the most sleep-deprived creatures on Earth, that’s hard to deny. According to the NHTSA, about 56,000 crashes a year are connected with driving while drowsy. Even one night without enough sleep will decrease your reaction badly enough. So when you plan driving through the night with toddler, make sure you have enough energy for that. NHTSA also says that taking a short 20-minute nap might save the situation, as well as a cup of coffee (about 200 mg of caffeine can perk you up).

4. Confusion with child safety seats

Unfortunately, the majority of driving moms haven’t had their kid’s child-safety seat checked by a safety technician. As a result, three of four driving seats are placed incorrectly. I think you don’t have to be explained that this serious mistake can play a low-down trick in case of car accidents.

Driving with toddlers and children
Do not forget about child safety seats

5. Leaving babies alone in a car

Even if you run for a quick errand, leaving a baby in a car might be very, very dangerous. The problem is that infants’ bodies cannot regulate temperature as well as adults’ ones. They can easily get cold or hot in a matter of a few minutes. Some parents admit they do it because of forgetfulness…Refer to mistake #1, my dear!

Read More: How To Teach Kid Ride A Bicycle? 4 Popular Methods

Hacks & Tips

It is critical that your child be safely attached in the proper size vehicle seat or booster seat each time he takes a ride in the vehicle. How can you make your ride more pleasant? There are a few ideas for traveling with toddlers and babies.

  • Kids love to pretend! Showcase a practice run at home using their favorite toy. You can belt them into their very own vehicle seat and take them off for an imaginary drive to the market. Discuss safety rules as you play, even with the smallest toddlers.
  • Provide every kid with his/her own backpack to convey some special things to be used in the car only. Those might include a picture book, a tape player, or some toys that won’t be annoying to the driver and other passengers.
  • Don’t forget about some snacks and drinks that won’t make your car too messy, for example, juice boxes, rice cakes, bagels, granola bars, and pretzels. A bottle of water is a must.
  • Keep a stockpile of “emergency” things in the vehicle. Such a set should include wet wipes, diapers, flashlights, bandages, filtered water, lightweight cover, etc.
  • Place a vinyl tablecloth or a large towel over the rear seat to protect your vehicle from spills and crumbs. At that point, you will have the option to relax and not stress over the wreckage the children are making.
  • When driving long distance with a toddler, travel late around evening time or during the time of the day when your kid is ordinarily resting. Stop every two hours, go out of the vehicle and walk around.
  • Children’s playgrounds are incredible for letting some energy out! Stop at family-friendly restaurants. Praise the kid for behaving well in the vehicle.

Read more: How To Avoid Losing Your Kid?

How To Make Traveling With Toddlers And Babies Safer?

First, regularly inspect your car safety seat. Make sure the seat belt that holds it securely in its place is snug, each time you belt your child in. Do not continue to use a car seat if it has been damaged or has been in a crash.

The back seat is the safest place in the car to ride. This is something we have always known, but this information becomes even more crucial now that a passenger-side airbag is commonly installed in virtually every new car.

Remember, placing your child under 12 in the front seat, even when properly secured by a seat belt or car safety seat, is a very dangerous practice. In a crash, the airbag inflates very quickly. The force of the airbag deploying can cause serious head and chest injuries or death/.

Childhood restraints are the law in all 50 states. Before you start driving with toddlers, select the proper seat for your child, make sure that it is properly installed, and use it without fail.


Child car seat
Make sure to select the right child car seat

Choose the proper size car seat for your child:

  • Infants under 20 pounds AND under one-year-old should be placed in a rear-facing infant seat.
  • Children over one year of age AND weighing 20 to 40 pounds should be placed in a full-size car safety seat.
  • Booster seats are then used from about 40 to 60 pounds.
  • When your child outgrows his booster seat — when he is over 60 or 70 pounds — use a lap/shoulder belt that fits snugly across his shoulder and chest. If the belt lies across your child’s face or throat, you should move him to a position in the back seat where he uses only the lap belt.

Do not place the shoulder belt under your child’s arm, as this could become hazardous in the event of an accident. Position the lap belt so that it fits snugly across the lower part of your child’s lap, and not across his abdomen.

Buckle your child into his seat. Do not allow him to do it himself, even if he is able to. This gives you the opportunity to check that his safety seat is secure and that he is snugly belted-in before each trip.

Don’t start the car until everyone is safely belted-in. If during the trip someone removes his seat belt or begins to climb out of his car seat, find a safe place to pull off the road and help them to get re-secured. Let passengers know that the car isn’t moving until everyone is buckled-up.

Read more: Hot Weather Safety Tips For Kids: How To Survive Through Summer?

FAQ On Travelling With Kids

Q: We have a 10-week-old baby and are planning on taking a two-week road trip. Is a long car trip with a newborn safe?

A: There is nothing better for putting in perspective just how much stuff you need to take care of your children than going on a trip. And when it comes to the logistics of how to do it, there are no hard and fast rules since it depends on the age and temperament of the child. However, here are some helpful hints which I give you as both a pediatrician and a father.

Q: Is a Long Car Trip Safe for the Newborn?

A: Absolutely. Sure it’s safe for the baby, but it may make the parents crazy. Seriously, traveling with a newborn can in many ways be the easiest travel with children. However, it can be very stressful as well. Be aware of this, lower your travel time expectations, and most of all enjoy the company of your spouse. Between the feeding and changing diapers, traveling with a newborn can give you and your spouse some quality time together.

Q: How Much Time it Takes to Travel with a Newborn?

There will be periods on the road in which you will be tempted to save time during feeding. If your baby is breastfed, you will want to take her out of the car seat to feed while moving. If she is bottle-fed, that temptation will happen when it comes time to burp her. Three words — Don’t do it. Safety has got to take precedence. Even though the time out of the car seat may be minimal, it could be just enough time to be involved in an accident. This same temptation may come if the baby becomes fussy. If he needs to be held, stop the car.

With all the required stopping to change diapers, feed, comfort, etc, you can find it takes almost twice as long to travel with a newborn than without. Therefore, when planning how much time it will take to make it to the destination, calculate how long it would be with just you and your spouse… and then double it for driving with toddlers and babies.


Q: Will Time Zone Change Affect My Kid?

Minimal time zone changes may affect your baby more than you would expect. Most babies do pretty well when changing time zones, but when you throw in the disruption of the normal routine due to car travel, driving with toddlers and babies can be a bit more fussy than usual.

At the same time, parents can say that time zone changes usually don’t affect sleep patterns as much as the rocking of the car tended to make babies sleep longer. In some respects, traveling with a newborn is much easier than with older children because of the large amount of time spent sleeping. Occasionally, this can backfire in the infant who is sleeping through the night. The extra sleep during the day may disrupt sleep at night. Also, normal eating times may not change with the time zone until a few days later.

Q: What Should I Pack?

Pack everything. Adjustment to new environments is more easily achieved if much of the usual equipment is used. Take things like nail scissors, the nasal bulb syringe, and the thermometer are things that might get left behind if you don’t make note of them Bring your blankets, your baby wipes and diapers and anything else that your baby is used to during the day. I recommend making either mental or written notes about things we used for the baby starting about two weeks before the trip. That ensured those “not-daily-used” items got packed.

I wish you well on your trip with kids. Drive safely and have fun!

Did I leave out anything important? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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About nikamarvelmaker

I'm a loving mom with a strong passion for creative writing and wordplay. Freelancing since 2013, I focus on translation and crypto copywriting (Bitcoins can be fun, too). My jam-packed daily schedule includes parenting, homemaking, work and blogging on MarvelMama, and I enjoy every second of my ever-busy life.
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