|On the road with kids|
|Posted by Eduan van Rooyen|
|Friday, 06 April 2012 21:32|
Keeping your family safe on the journey to your holiday destination is of the highest priority. Making sure all passengers wear their seatbelt at all times and checking that children are seated securely in an appropriate child seat will help ensure you have a safe and relaxed start to your holiday.
The importance of your children’s safety and comfort during the often-long summer journey goes above anything else. Always using and correctly fitting a restraint most appropriate to your child’s size is crucial and significantly reduces their risk of injury in a crash. Children smaller than 1,5 meter should be transported in an approved, appropriate child seat – herewith some guidelines:
Ensure that your child understands the importance of being safely strapped in for every journey. Only as late as possible you should teach your child how to open the safety belt since you can never be sure that they don’t do this while you’re driving.
Keep them safe
Before you depart, double-check the child safety or booster seat to ensure it is installed properly. If it wasn’t bought recently, make sure it is still the correct model for your child’s height and weight.
Plan frequent rest stops
When planning long journeys with children, consider travelling in the cooler hours of the day and taking a long break over the hot hours. Take the time to stop every two hours so all passengers have an opportunity to move freely for a few minutes.
Don’t underestimate the heat
If you don’t already have sunshades on the car’s windows, summer is a good time to consider purchasing some. If your kids are going to be spending quality time in the car you want them to be comfortable. You also want to protect them from the sun.
Make sure everybody drinks enough during the drive. Never leave your child alone in a car, even for a few minutes. During a typical summer's day, the temperatures inside a parked car could mount up to 30 to 40 degrees hotter than the outside temperature – easily reaching 60 or more degrees. Remember to cover the child seat when parking on hot days to avoid burning the child on hot metal fittings when you return.
Keep in mind that children should also be dressed appropriately for long-distance travel, in clothing that is comfortable and promotes airflow.
Keep them entertained
Keeping your kids occupied during long journeys makes it more pleasant for everyone. Offer your kids toys that they can play with during the drive but choose soft toys – heavy or sharp items do not belong in the inside of the vehicle while driving. Special children’s CDs and DVDs and children books also help alleviate the boredom of long journeys.
Always concentrate on the road
Whatever children do in the back of the car while driving, the first priority for the driver is always to be fully concentrated on the road. The driver should never take his or her eyes off the road. Turning around or watching your children in the rear-view mirror distracts from the traffic and increases the risk of an accident.
At a speed of 100km/h a car drives about 30m per second. Turning around to your kids might cost three seconds in which you have driven almost 100m blindly.
Not all rest stops can be planned. If a child needs special attention it is best to add an extra stop instead of risking the safety of the entire family by trying to see to a child on the back seat while driving.
Keeping children safe – also outside the car
Breaking down can be a stressful and worrying experience and it could happen to any of us. Having a flat tyre is obviously more worrying when there are young children in the car.
Mounting a safety device and Goodyear RunOnFlat tyres could avoid such a situation. Thanks to the RunOnFlat Technology, drivers no longer have to make that dangerous stop at the side of the road to change a tyre. RunOnFlat tyres allow drivers to keep on driving after a puncture or total loss of tire pressure, providing them ample time to get home or to a nearby repair shop within a distance of 80km and at a maximum speed of 80km/h – even on a fully deflated tyre.
Lize Hayward, Goodyear Group Public Relations Manager states: “Being stranded at the side of the road, especially with young children on board, can be a frightening experience. Motorists should certainly never consider leaving their passengers in the car while looking for help.”
Hayward recommends in case of a break-down: