Part and parcel of going on a family trip away is dealing with children in the back of the car. They can be noisy and cause a distraction, so it is important to be mindful of this when on the road.
Studies show that children can be one of the biggest distractions to drivers, even more so than mobile phones. If this distraction is not kept in check then it could potentially result in a road accident.
Even so, children are often unaware of the dangers that they cause while on the road. It is important, therefore, for the adults in the car to take steps to ensure children are kept occupied and cannot be blamed for causing trouble during car journeys. There are a few steps that people can take to do this.
Bring an extra adult
Taking another adult along for the journey can help to alleviate the pressure that is placed on the driver to deal with the children.
They can be placed in charge of addressing the needs of the children - of which there are often many - and ensuring that their attention is not turned to the driver when they want something. Additionally, this adult can warn the children not to disturb the driver and encourage them to keep noise levels down.
Take some entertainment
The best way to keep kids from distracting drivers is to distract their attention in turn. Therefore, it is worth bringing a few different means to keep them entertained.
Portable consoles, such as a Nintendo 3DS or a PS Vita with a wide selection of games, can prove very useful here. These can demand a lot of the children's attention and keep them engrossed for long periods of time.
Do not rely on a single form of entertainment though, bring many. If you have a portable DVD player or built in system then a good kids' film can keep them occupied for a good hour and a half or so.
There are alternatives to technology that can still be useful, such as a book and travel-friendly board games. So do not underestimate the powers of these.
Be aware, however, that some children can get travel sick on long journeys, particularly if their attention is turned away from the road such as when indulging in in-car entertainment. If this is the case, encourage them to look back at the road, open a window, offer them a drink and be prepared to stop if need be.
Make regular stops
Whether or not there is a child on board that gets travel sick, it is important to make regular stops if embarking on a long journey.
Too many hours cooped up in the car can be a lot for children to bear as they may get uncomfortable and find that they have a lot of energy building that they are unable to expel.
Making stops will allow children to stretch their legs for a bit and burn off some energy ready for the next part of the trip.
It can also be useful for the driver as taking a break can be refreshing and, in turn, help them focus when they get back on the road. By ensuring their focus is improved, drivers are less likely to succumb to the distractions that children present.
Bring snacks and drinks
Children can easily become frustrated if they get hungry or thirsty while on a long journey, which would encourage them to kick up a fuss. To make matters worse, if they haven't had enough to eat or get dehydrated while on the road then they are more likely to get travel sick.
Make sure plenty of snacks and drinks are packed ready for the journey. If the road trip spreads across meal times then be sure to bring more substantial foods, such as sandwiches, to satisfy their hunger.
Be mindful of sugary sweets and drinks. Not only are they bad for children's teeth but they could also potentially cause them to get hyperactive and start causing distractions again.