Almost everyone at sometime or another ends up taking a trip in a car somewhere with kids along. That is part of the American image after all. However, that image usually does not include the kids in the backseat chanting over and over “are we there yet?” Car trips with kids can either be great, or a total nightmare depending upon how well prepared you are.
Remember kids really do not care how long it takes to drive a mile or that once they are at their destination they can finally get out and stretch. They are not typically capable of long car rides with no breaks along the way. To help make the trip as peaceful as possible be sure to schedule breaks along the way to stopping for bathroom breaks, food and the occasional chance to just stretch the legs and awaken the brain.
Do make sure that car doors are locked and kids know not to play with the handles, make sure kids are aware that they are not supposed to even have any part of their body hanging out of the car, this includes arms, hands, and feet and legs. Make sure everyone in the vehicle wears their seat belt, adults included to set a good example. Kids who are to be in car seats should still be in their car seat for the entire trip. Do not ever walk away from the vehicle with kids or pets alone in the car; it only takes a moment for a disaster to strike.
Kids love to ride in the front seat of the car, but car trips are especially important to make sure kids are in the backseat. Many states have now made it a law that kids ride in the backseat only. It is always a good idea to take a small cooler along for the ride so that a cold drink is never far away. Keep juice and water for the kids, especially since soda tends to make kids hyperactive and hyperactive kids and a long drive do not mix well.
Keep a close eye on the little passengers in the car, hot temperatures, and curvy roads can allow carsickness to set in quickly. Small kids who are sick can quickly and easily become dehydrated if they are not closely watched. Make sure to pack a fresh pack of baby wipes they are great for a large number of uses while on the road.
I always allow my children to pack a small rolling suitcase for trips that will fit in the backseat between their car seats. They themselves pack the bag that way the toys in the bag are what they themselves have picked out. I however always check the bag to make sure it does not have every loud toy in the house packed in it.
Remember that while stopping for food is always good, a snack every so often is also necessary. Packing snacks where the kids can reach is always good to help curb the afternoon munchies so they are not starving the whole way. Another good idea is to pack where they can reach a car pillow and small blanket. This way they can get comfortable and take a nap when they become tired without getting neck pains from uncomfortable sleeping positions.