This is a guest post by Kath Morgan
If you have kids, there’s a good chance that a large proportion of your motoring hours are spent ferrying them to and fro – or you’re all piling into the car for a family day out.
You might be the person who buys, maintains and fuels the family car, but your kids spend a lot of time in it too. You’d be wise to bear this in mind when stocking up on all those in-car essentials.
Here are our recommendations for making sure your car is KIDS friendly.
Kit – Kit out your family car with all the essential tools for their health and comfort and be prepared for every eventuality.
Health: Always carry a first-aid kit for those minor mishaps that seem to go hand in hand with kids and travel. A good first-aid kit might contain: a thermometer, some infant Calpol or other child-appropriate pain reliever, sticking plasters and bandages, insect repellent, antiseptic cream, calamine lotion, a gel pack, antihistamine cream and rehydration powder. Note emergency contact numbers on the inside lid of the box.
Comfort: A kit-bag stocked with loose comfortable clothing comes in handy in case of spillage or an accident. Include lots of layers as temperatures inside a car can fluctuate.
A couple of blankets and a pillow or two are great when the kids decide they need a nap. Put in a sun-hat for each child and a bottle of suntan lotion.
If you have a baby on board add a bib, nappies, wipes and nappy rash cream. Removable window shades can help with glare.
In-car Entertainment – There’s no reason why your child should ever get bored in the car. Cater for every mood by including entertainment to appeal to their whole range of learning styles.
Visual – Invest in a built-in DVD player and turn your car into a mobile cinema. Or if you have more than one child, consider individual portable players, which mean no arguments about what to watch. You can plug in headphones, too, and let the adults up front enjoy the peace.
Auditory – Make a kid-friendly iPod mix to share together and get into a bit of family karaoke. Alternatively, those individual headphones will allow everyone to be their own DJ. Recorded books are a great way to share a story.
Read/Write – Keep a small stock of fiction and puzzle books to hand. A good story, crossword or word search could keep the kids busy for hours.
Kinaesthetic – Fitting a travel tray onto the rear of the front seat will enable kids to play with travel board games, colouring books or sticker books. For babies, try magnetic building blocks or fuzzy felt. A favourite cuddly toy kept in the car can be a great comfort for all ages.
Diet – Keep a mix of healthy, dried foods in a cool-box to fill in those hungry moments while dashing from A to B. Peanuts, dry biscuits, dried fruit and crisps keep well and shouldn’t upset small stomachs. A permanent supply of water is advisable, too. If you are stocking up especially for the journey, add some frozen juice boxes and fresh fruit.
Safety – Before you stock the car with lots of fun stuff for the kids, make sure you’ve taken care of the more serious stuff such as car insurance, road tax and an up-to-date MOT. In addition to these basics, when travelling with children you should check that the child locking system is working on all relevant doors and that you are using the correct child car seat, fitted safely.
Follow our recommendations and your kids should be healthy, engaged, well-nourished and safe while travelling in your family car.
Kath Morgan writes about a whole host of motoring topics, including family travel, car insurance and safety concerns. An avid traveller, she spent many years living abroad and understands the lure of the open road only too well.