Driving with children tips
Use the right child car restraint
Purchasing the right car restraint and fitting it correctly will better protect them on your journey. It will also give you peace of mind, helping you to focus on your driving. Select a seat that is suitable for the age and size of your child and have it professionally fitted. Children sitting on a booster seat should have the belt laid flat against the middle of their shoulder and the lap belt over the upper thighs. Make sure the belt is not twisted or damaged. Don't forget vehicles vary, so you should check the fitting of your child's restraint in all the cars you own.
Concentrate on the road around you
Your first priority when driving a car is to do so safely. Turning around to check on your crying child, just for a few seconds, could see you travel a startling 27 metres without looking at the road ahead. And that's when driving at only 50km/h. Accidents happen in a fraction of a second.
So if your baby is bawling, pull over in a safe manner to see what's wrong. You can minimise in-car upsets by attaching their toys to the car seat or their dummy to their clothing. This way, they won't get dropped on the floor and start a tantrum.
Allow yourself plenty of time
Before you had kids, before jumping in the car all you needed was yourself and a set of keys. Now, you've got dozens of bags, armfuls of toys, a pram and a baby to think about. So give yourself a little extra-time and leave earlier. Use the extra time to change your child and feed them, reducing backseat meltdowns from your young one.
In turn, this will make you more focussed and calmer. You shouldn't be late and so your mind is concentrating on the road rather than the time.
Cut down distractions, work around tiredness
You're driving with precious cargo now, so put away anything that might distract you from driving. Switch your phone off or tuck it away.
Tiredness is a leading cause of car accidents, so if you're suffering from sleep deprivation because of a teething baby, consider other options. Could you perhaps take public transport? If you're off to the park, could you walk instead? Could you order your groceries online or ask a relative to pick up some essentials for you?
Take breaks when you need to
If you're starting to get weary from driving, feeling overwhelmed or need to clean-up a surprise spill, pull over in a safe place and take a break. If you can, get out of the car and go for a little walk. Your baby will also love to get out of their seat for a while and have some fresh air. Afterwards, grab a coffee and take a nap.
Children should sit on the left-hand side of a vehicle
Children should sit in the middle of the rear seats, or near to the kerb side of the vehicle. For safety reasons, they should also exit a car on the kerb side.