This post sharing tips for safe family travel is brought to you through a partnership with Safecar.gov.
In my opinion, I am the best driver on the road, hands down. There is no better driver than me. Period. I think most people feel this way about their own driving and they may, in fact, be great drivers but the problem isn’t your driving, the problem is everyone else’s driving.
Unfortunately, you can not control what other people are doing out on the road but you can control how you prepare for trips to ensure you are doing everything to guarantee your family’s safety when traveling.
Why are these Tips for Safe Family Travel Important?
Every 33 seconds a child under 13 is involved in a car crash in the United States. For younger children, car seats can dramatically reduce the risk of fatality or injury – but over half of the car seats are either installed or used incorrectly. For older children, buckling up is critical. A full 50% of children aged 8-14 who were killed in car crashes from 2011-2015 were not restrained.
That’s why we want parents and caregivers to know about the importance of making sure their child is safely restrained—whether that’s selecting the right car seat for their child’s age and size, or making sure that older kids (8-14) always buckle their seat belts and sit in the backseat.
As parents, we all want to do the right thing to keep our children safe and sound. This spring, the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are unveiling new PSAs to address these important issues.
First, is the up-to-date car seat safety information like the tips found in the fun new video series “The Wide World of Car Seats.”
It can be hard to convey the message to kids that safety is most important when traveling but starting early is a great way to get into the habit of buckling up as well as making sure you have the right seat for your child’s age, height, and weight. This video shows a humorous approach at a really important topic, selecting the right seat.
The right car seat can make all the difference in a motor vehicle crash. And car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. But despite their best intentions, many parents may not realize their child isn’t in the right seat. For example, many parents move their children to the next restraint type (car seat, booster seat, seat belt) too soon. To make sure you have the right seat for your child, visit SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat.
Safe Family Travel Tips for Older Kids
And just when you think you’ve got this parenting thing down, your child becomes a “tween” and you enter a whole new world. To help with travel safety, the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are unveiling new PSAs featuring characters from Fox’s upcoming summer road trip adventure Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.
The PSAs remind parents and caregivers that even if kids argue and plead, parents should stand firm and always insist that their kids buckle up and sit in the back seat (the safest place for kids under the age of 13).
Kids are easily influenced by their peers and want to look cool so it really helps when you have some of their favorite characters telling them that being safe when traveling is cool!
I’ve been teaching my daughter since she was born all about the importance of seat belts and travel safety, so luckily I don’t have to work very hard to convince her to be safe in the car. It’s just expected. That expectation doesn’t mean I assume she is buckled up, I always check and nag her if it isn’t fast enough.
Even when her friends are in the car, I make sure everyone is buckled before I drive away. I will not even put the car in gear until they get their belts on, nothing is worth risking their safety and I hope all parents feel this way when traveling with my child as well.
Recently, my mom’s best friend lost her daughter who was only 16 in a car accident. I couldn’t imagine going through what she is going through right now. Although that accident was not due to a seat belt issue, it does remind me that we need to take all of the safety precautions we can because accidents can happen to anyone at any time.
Per data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 69,000 tweens are injured every year in car crashes and 61% of 14-year-old children killed in 2015 car crashes were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Even though life as a parent is full of compromises, seat belt safety should never be up for negotiation. That’s why the new PSAs encourage us to: “Never give up until they buckle up!”
More Safe Family Travel Tips
Always research destinations as much as possible before hitting the road. There are many desirable areas that offer safe family travel but there are also many vacation spots that are hot spots for accidents.
Whether you are planning a road trip to Yellowstone or heading to Rocky Mountain National Park, planning your route ahead of time can help avoid trouble on your family road trip. Both of these locations are fun family destinations but due to the mountains and road conditions at certain times of the year, they can be especially dangerous so be sure to plan accordingly.
When my family traveled from the bottom of a mountain on a bright sunny day and arrived at the top in the middle of a blizzard, my husband said a prayer for safe family travel. He was terrified when we found ourselves surrounded by RVs speeding to the top on a narrow icy path. I would have never guessed that people would drive so recklessly in that environment but you just never know what may lie ahead.
So it doesn’t hurt to say a safe travel prayer for family before heading out. Or you could do some affirmations and find a few safe travel quotes for family to set a good intention for your family road trip.
Always pack extra medicine, plenty of sunscreen, basic first-aid items, a map, and a flashlight, in case of emergencies. If you are immunocompromised or have a close family member who is, I would highly recommend you look into covid safe family travel options.
While most experts sharing travel tips for family agree that traveling with electronic forms of payment rather than cash is preferred, having some extra cash for emergencies is also a good idea.
For more information or if you need more tips to convince your tween to buckle up, visit SaferCar.gov/KidsBuckleUp. If you have a great tip, join the conversion on social media using: #KidsBuckleUp.