Traveling with toddlers can be quite overwhelming and nerve-wracking. A toddler in tow that’s crying can make you lose your patience. There are a lot of factors you need to consider when traveling with your little one. Your trip plans should coincide with the routine of your kid. Although there is no assurance that your toddler will always be on his best behavior, it will still give you peace of mind that you are prepared for all your kid’s needs.
The most crucial thing you need to prepare for is your child’s safety. As a parent, the last thing you want is to put your precious baby in danger. Here are some essential things you need to remember before traveling in car with your toddler:
Is My Toddler Ready For A Booster Seat?
Do not get too excited at moving your toddlers to booster seats unless they are truly ready for it. Keep in mind that the protection level of your child is decreased every time you move him to the next safety seat. It is necessary to keep your kids at every seat stage for as long as you can. Also, make sure to check car seat laws as they vary from state to state. Check out this online guide on how to find the appropriate car seat for your child.
You may have heard or read online that once your little one reached the weight and height limitations of harnessed car seats, he is ready for a booster seat. However, if you want to ensure utmost safety, it is best to wait until he is mature enough or at least five years of age to sit on it properly. Moreover, bigger children can also safely use booster seats.
Booster seats come in the following types:
- High-back booster. This type has a back that provides neck and head support for your child. Some models feature an adjustable headrest as well as a built-in seat belt adjuster. There are also models that you can transform into a backless booster by removing its back.
- Backless booster. This type has no back as the name suggest. It is ideal for vehicles with a headrest to provide ample head support for your kid. If you’re considering buying one, here’s a list of the TOP-6 safest backless boosters available today.
How To Properly Use A Booster Seat
- Keep in mind that children 12 years old and below are safest at the backseat of your vehicle.
- Install the seat according to its manual. When your toddler is comfortably seated, fasten the shoulder or lap belt around her or him. Most models come with belt positioners that will help ensure the belt’s shoulder part is properly in place.
- Your high-back or backless booster should only be installed with the LATCH system. Check if your seat and car’s manufacturer allows it.
- Never place the shoulder belt under your kid’s arm or behind her or his back.
Travel During NIghttime
Traveling at night with your toddlers has many benefits. One of it is that they can sleep for the rest of the ride and you don’t even have to worry about making unplanned stopovers to feed them. You also don’t have to take them in the convenience stores each time refill gas or listen to them cry and whine because they’re bored and want to get out of the car.
However, sleeping for several hours then wake your kid up to leave at 2 in the morning is never a good idea. Most kids will not continue sleeping in the vehicle but rather sit and stare at the road for hours and hours. Again, not every toddler will be well-behaved. Also, do not attempt to drive if you are tired or have consumed any alcoholic beverage even if it’s just a few sips. And if you’re feeling a little sleepy while on the road, find a safe well-lit place to park and take a quick nap. If you’re alone with your child, open the windows a bit and make sure the child lock is activated.
What You Need To Bring
- New and favorite old toys. If driving at night is not possible, you can keep your kid entertained by bringing along a couple of his favorite toys. Since children at this age get bored easily, mix in a few new toys in the bunch. This is a good way to distract him and keep his mind off the fact that he’s been in his car seat for several hours.
- Favorite blanket. Put your kid in comfortable clothes and bring his favorite blanket along to keep him warm and cozy if you will travel the entire night.
- Plenty of snacks and drinks. Prepare lots of healthy snacks and drinks for you and your child. Not only will this make him happy and satisfied, but it will also help avoid unnecessary stopovers.
- Extra clothes and towels. Toddlers can be quite messy, especially during snack time. Make sure to place some extra clothes and towels inside your car in case he spills something on his clothes. You don’t want to open your vehicle’s trunk every time this happens.