Many families will be travelling long distances to reach their holiday destinations, and this means spending many hours in a car. It’s the parents’ responsibility to keep their children safe while they’re on the road and to help, GetMore has put together a short list of guidelines.
1. Pack your vehicle before letting your kids get inside, and make sure you give them enough room so they aren’t squashed. It’s essential that everything is secure, as flying objects can injure your child.
2. Children all need to be strapped into approved child safety seats, whether it’s a rear-facing convertible seat or a booster seat, and if they’re old enough they must use the car’s seatbelt.
3. Carefully plan what time you’ll leave and consider driving when your children are sleeping, such as early morning or through the night. However, this is only recommended if you’ve had enough sleep. You can also leave just before lunch, allowing your kids to eat in your vehicle, which will keep them distracted for a while and they will most probably sleep after eating.
4. Be sure to pack snacks and something to drink for your journey. Try to avoid sweet treats or messy food and rather choose savoury options like cheese, bread sticks, apple slices, bananas and raisins.
5. Kids will get bored easily so pack toys and think of games you can play. Portable DVD players are a great option but remember the headphones, or you can play audio books or CDs with children’s songs. Old favourites like I Spy will keep your kids entertained for a while and keep the mood fun.
6. It’s inevitable that siblings will fight but this can distract you while you drive. If you’re in a van then put children in different rows, but when you’re in a smaller car put pillows between them so that there’s a bit of a division. If you have the space, let an adult sit in the back for a bit – kids love that!
7. Plan your route carefully, including rest stops every two hours. It’s important that your kids can get out of the vehicle, stretch their legs, go to the toilet and run around to get rid of some energy. Stopping at a petrol station that has a playground, or something fun to see or do, will help to distract your kids. It might make your journey longer but it will be far more pleasant.
Traffic on South African roads increases significantly during the holiday season, and unfortunately this means that the number of accidents also rise. It’s important that you take your time and if the going gets tough – pull over and take a break. It’s about travelling safely, not quickly!
Remember that as a GetMore member you get roadside assistance – during the day and night – so that if you break down on the side of the road, simply phone 084 11 438 48 and we’ll send help immediately. GetMore will help you get to your destination safely.