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Dash Through the Snow! Wintertime travel tips for families with young children

Whether it’s visiting Grandma and Grandpa in a neighboring state or heading to snow fun in the mountains, families of multi-age children are going to have a unique set of preparations to make to ensure that the car, bus, train or plane ride is fun and stress-free.

In this post, we offer tips for wintertime travel to help you avoid any bumps in the road.

Seat safety

Before everyone buckles up, make sure that your children are fitted into their car seat appropriately. The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds us that the safest place for all children younger than 13 years of age is to ride in the back seat regardless of weight and height. In addition, they suggest:

  • All infants and toddlers ride in their car seat rear-facing until they are 2-years old or they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer.
  • Toddlers over 2-years old should ride in a forward-facing seat with a 5-point harness.
  • Once a child is 4-feet 9-inches in height AND are 8 through 12 years of age, they can ride in a booster seat.

Many experts advise that winter coats should not be worn underneath a car seat harness because it can leave the straps too loose to effectively protect your child in a car crash. Instead, use blankets for infants, and for older children, put the coat on backward once the child is buckled into their seat.

Things to bring for the car ride:

  • Easy-to-reach diapers, extra baby clothes, and toys for older children. Remember that anything loose will be a projectile in a crash. One way to contain items are pockets that strap onto the back of the seat in front of the child.
  • Paper towels to clean up messes; a ziplock bag for dirty diapers and a trash bag for snack wrappers.
  • Books to read to baby.
  • See through window shades.
  • Blankets, extra food and water, first aid kit, and snow chains (if driving over the mountains).

It’s also advised that you check road conditions on your route before you leave and find some places along the way to pull over for potty breaks, running around, and feedings.

If possible, have a secondary adult (like your spouse or sibling) sit in the backseat with your infant when they need extra calming or entertainment (such as books and baby toys).

For tips on air travel and avoiding meltdowns, visit lanekids.org.

This article is brought to you by Parenting Now Parenting Educators and authors Amanda Bedortha, Claire Davis and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson (andupdatemywebsite.com).  Parenting Now is passionate about happy, healthy families. For more information about Parenting Now please visit their website (https://parentingnow.org/) or contact us at info@parentingnow.org

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