Driving home for Christmas: Stay safe with kids in the car
Families travelling with children this Christmas are being given top tips to help stay safe on the roads.
Experts from Quotezone.co.uk have named five important steps for drivers to take when travelling with little ones over the festive period.
Travelling over the holidays often includes driving long distances with children, sometimes through turbulent winter weather conditions.
It’s crucial for parents or guardians to be aware of potential issues to ensure a safe and responsible driving environment for children.
Parents should use an appropriate car seat or seat belt for their child’s age, height, and weight and make sure it’s installed properly and is compatible with the vehicle.
According to the Highway Code, children must use a car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall, and toddlers under 15 months must be placed in a rear-facing car seat.*
Failing to comply with these rules can result in a fine of up to £500 and points on the drivers licence.
The Highway Code Rule 98 warns drivers to secure objects when loading a car. Be sure to secure Christmas presents, bottles and toys before setting off to reduce the risk of them hurting people inside the car should there be an accident.
Busy parents or caregivers are also reminded to avoid multitasking while driving and avoid driving altogether if they are too tired over the festive break.
Helen Rolph, price comparison expert at Quotezone.co.uk said: “As many families look to travel home for Christmas this year, it can be stressful getting everyone packed and ready to go. It’s important for parents to be aware of these common risks before hitting the road, to help keep everyone safe.
“Although driving home for Christmas can be an exciting time, it is often a stressful activity for families, so it’s important to take your time, plan out the journey and keep an eye on the weather – snow, ice and heavy rain can all affect the driving conditions so it’s best to be prepared.”
Here are Quotezone’s tips for staying safe on the roads this Christmas:
1.Check your car seats
When driving with young children under 12 years or 135cm tall, it is crucial to follow guidelines provided by car seat manufacturers and the law, to ensure children are properly restrained. Babies under 15 months must be placed in a rear-facing car seat. Refit and clean the seats regularly to ensure they are secure and free from debris that could hinder the buckles.
2. Don’t drive when tired
The Christmas period can put a lot of stress on parents. Organising, packing, wrapping and spending time around lots of family members can be exhausting, but you should never drive when tired. Anyone experiencing festive fatigue should swap drivers, take a rest stop to recharge or consider public transport.
3. Don’t multitask
Children can be very excitable when travelling at Christmas time, but it is important for drivers not to get distracted. Whether you are tending to their needs or trying to calm them down in the car, these distractions can lead to accidents. It is important to stay focused on the road in order to remain in control of the vehicle. If children in the car are becoming fussy on long journeys, it is better to pull over and take a break in a safe spot before taking to the road again.
4. Remember to use child lock
When driving with children, child lock should also be in use. Children may open the door accidentally while moving – which is incredibly dangerous and could be seen as careless driving and result in a hefty fine and points on your licence. Without a child lock, children can also try to leave the vehicle in busy areas before the parents are ready to help.
5. Take off bulky clothes
Although the winter chill means children are likely wrapped up warm before getting into the car, bulky coats should not be worn in car seats. During an accident, the fluffy padding inside coats is compressed, which can leave extra space under the harness, which could lead to children slipping through the straps. To keep kids warm in the car, parents should dress children in thin layers and use a blanket over the harness.
It’s also sensible to add breakdown cover to car insurance policies this Christmas or purchase a standalone product – best for drivers to check with their insurer to see if they have it already as standard, to avoid paying extra.
This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.