These family car hacks make riding in the car with the kids much easier and more organized. Use these tips for your vehicle.
I’m in toddler heaven over here. Well, preschooler and toddler. And baby, to be honest, but the baby is outnumbered.
After having driven with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers on three continents in numerous vehicles, here are my top tips for traveling with the little kiddos.
I am a slow driver.
I pay close attention, get in no hurry, and am extremely cautious while in the car. Last Saturday night (the 4th of July) we were circling around looking for a parking spot to watch the fireworks, and we witnessed an accident.
Both cars were going slow, luckily, and no one was hurt, but both my husband and myself were pretty surprised when we see the driver of the truck jump out with his toddler about 30 seconds after the accident happened.
Because the toddler hadn’t been in a car seat. Because it was a single cab truck. It made both my husband and myself catch our breathe, and give thanks no one was harmed. But it goes without saying car seats are a must.
Here are some car safety tips and hacks for riding with toddlers
After having 5 kids in 5 years, we’ve come up with quite a few hacks for the family vehicle. Read on to find out.
1. Get a good car seat that grows with your toddler
Instead of buying a new car seat every year for one child, buy a car seat that grows with your child. There are many types on the market today and this works well if you have multiple children.
You can get one car seat that grows with your little one, and then pass it down to the next child.
2. Put a shoe by the car seat to avoid forgetting your baby in a car
It’s heart wrenching to even talk about, but children pass away each summer due to suffocation in hot cars.
I saw a tip on Facebook last month to take off your shoe and put it by the car seat in the back. This way you have to reach around to the back seat for your shoe, and won’t forget precious cargo.
3. Store any supplies you might need in the car
Recently I cleared out our extended cab truck and wanted to create an “emergency supplies” box.
This really takes a load off your mind in case you forget your diaper bag or water at home. Fill a box with the following:
- water bottles
- extra outfits
- emergency numbers
- an umbrella
- jumper cables
- a towel
- a blanket
- and some rope (for towing, etc.)
That’s a start, anyway :)
4. Keep trash bags handy
I took one of those inexpensive drawstring backpacks and hung it from the passenger side headrest. I stopped doing this for a while and the truck got trashed in no time.
It is so convenient to have something ready to be filled up with juice bottles, crayon wrappers, napkins, stray papers, La Croix cans, and whatever else the kids manage to get their hands on.
I also find it more relaxing to ride in a clean vehicle.
5. Create busy bags
I have quite a few blogger friends who are pros at making busy bags. A busy bag is essentially a bag full of things that will keep your toddlers and preschoolers busy.
Here’s a list of 25 busy bag ideas you can pull out when you are going to be in the car for a while or expect to get caught in traffic.
6. Get some good CDs, playlists, etc.
We have quite a few calm sing-a-long CDs that we bring out when we’ll be in the car for a while.
It’s amazing how much more calm the kids are when we play specific child friendly music as opposed to listening to our favorite radio stations.
I do think the type of music matters, and I try to stray from super energetic music because that’ll just make the kids want to move and they can’t since they are strapped in.
7. Keep snacks ready, but nothing that’ll melt
If you allow snacking in the car, keep them handy and be sure they are not choke hazards in any way, and that they won’t melt.
If you are in the driver’s seat you don’t want to give your child anything that’ll cause you to obsess about whether or not they are okay. I’ve given grapes before (even halved) and I was flipping out the whole time.
I know. I’m probably paranoid, but still. Also, unless you are heading straight home, food that doesn’t melt is recommended if it’s summer and you live in a hot state!