Have you finally decided to put a hard stop on gadget overuse in your home and take the family fun outdoors? Great! Now, all you need to do is make sure you’ve prepared all the necessities for a fun road trip.
If you’re not exactly sure what to pack and what to leave at home, keep reading to find out all about family road trip essentials that you will actually use.
Planning for any kind of family trip should start from making sure you’ve taken all the safety precautions and this includes investing in a quality car seat. Whether you’re traveling with an infant or school-age child, a car seat is an absolute must.
The Australian law obliges you to restrain any baby or child under the age of seven in a car seat or a booster placed on the center rear seat, and for a good reason: using properly fitted restrains such as the Maxi Cosi car seats can literally save your child’s life. Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death in Australian children aged 1-14, and a secured child restraint can reduce the risk of serious injury or death by up to 70%.
When installing a car seat, it’s best to use either the lower latch anchors or the seat belt — not both Most car seat manufacturers don’t crash test the seats using both systems, so make sure you read the instructions carefully. Car seats for infants should be positioned so that the baby is facing the rear, while toddlers and older children can use a front-facing car seat. Before you go, don’t forget to tighten the seat harness. If you are able to pinch a piece of the harness fabric between your fingers, it means the straps are too loose and you need to tighten it more.
First aid kit
Another hugely important safety measure that shouldn’t be overlooked when going on a family road trip is bringing a first aid kit with you. Even if you’ve made a detailed itinerary for your road trip, you never know where the road might take you. When you find yourself in a remote place far away from any health facility, even a small injury can quickly turn serious unless you have the supplies to treat it properly.
If you don’t already have a first aid kit in your car, you can get one from your local pharmacy or just make a custom one. Before you start making your own first aid kit, you can make a list and divide it into three sections: basic supplies, medicines, and miscellaneous items.
Basic supplies should include sterile dressings, band-aids, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic solution (e.g. hydrogen peroxide), a splint, heat/cold packs, burn ointment, eye wash, alcohol wipes, and a thermometer.
When it comes to medicine, stock up on NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen (keep in mind aspirin is not recommended for children and teens under 18), allergy and anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, and Hydrocortisone cream. Finally, you can throw in an emergency blanket, some scissors, tweezers, safety pins, and a list of emergency phone numbers.
Did you know that it takes less than 30 minutes for children to get bored on car trips? If the mere thought of hearing the dreaded “Are we there yet?” question from your kids is making you wonder if going on a family road trip is such a good idea after all, don’t lose heart just yet. It’s perfectly normal for children to get bored and impatient on long car journeys, but you can prevent the boredom from turning into a full-blown meltdown if keep the children occupied with some fun activities.
Yes, you can always give your kids phone or a tablet to play with, but taking a road trip is a great chance to start weaning your child off electronic devices, so why not be more creative and keep boredom at bay in some other way?
Depending on your children’s ages and personal interests, you can play word games, let everyone take turns making up a story, listen to music and sing along together, teach your children how to read a map, give them a disposable camera and get them to take as many photos as they can, or keep them busy with activity and coloring books.
Finally, don’t forget to pack plenty of road trip-friendly snacks. Cut up a bunch of fresh fruit and veggies such as apple slices, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, sweet peas, carrots, and cucumbers, and put them in small plastic containers. For older kids, take some lunch bags and fill them with air-popped popcorn, granola, mixed nuts, and oatmeal cookies.
You know your kids will ask for candy at some point no matter how hard you try to convince them that fruit is a dessert, so make sure you have an emergency stash of your kids’ favorite treats, but stay clear of sticky snacks unless you want to spend half of your road trip trying to get melted chocolate and peanut butter off your car seat.
To recap, always use a car seat, never leave anywhere by your car without a first aid kit, keep your children entrained during car journeys, and pack healthy snacks that both you and your kids will love.