The laws of physics don’t change just because you’re on vacation. Automobile accidents are the #1 cause of unintentional death and injury to children.
With some planning and patience there are easy ways to make sure your whole family enjoys a safe, memory-making summer vacation.
Tips for Easy Airplane Travel:
The likelihood of a plane crashing is extremely low compared to car crashes. Everything (even your purse) must be secured in an airplane. It only makes sense for a child to be secured in their car seat too. During rough take-offs, landing and turbulence, a child’s car seat will provide a safer and more comfortable way for them to travel.
- Just like adults, some babies feel discomfort in their ears when the pressure inside the cabin changes. Pacifiers or feeding time might help alleviate these symptoms. For older kids, Earplanes work great!
- Only car seats with an internal harness are permitted as long as they have a FAA label on the seat.
- You cannot install a seat in an emergency exit row.
- The seat must be installed by a window so it doesn’t interfere with a passenger being able to exit the row.
- If you have an infant seat, travel with just the carrier and install according to the manufacturer. Be sure your seat can be installed without the base before leaving home so that you can install it in the car at your destination.For bigger kids:
- Belt Position Booster seats are not permitted on airplanes because there is only a lap belt and boosters utilize a shoulder/lap belt. You can check your booster seat at the gate so it’s available when you land. If it’s small enough you can store it in the overhead bin.
- Older kids usually fit well in the lap belt on an airplane, but do not use a lap belt only to restrain a child in a car.
Tips for Easy Train Travel:
Unfortunately, trains are not required to have seat belts on them, nor is there any sort of labeling required for car seat use even if the train has some type of seat belt. The good news is the likelihood of a train crashing is very small. If you are traveling by train here are a few tips to keep your child safer.
- Bring your child’s car seat so you have it at your destination.
- Pack the manual so you have it available when you are ready to install it in a rental car.
- Keep an eye and a hand on your child when walking in the train cars. Trains rock back and forth so they can be unstable, especially for the little toddlers.
Finally, call your carrier ahead of time to get important information on traveling with children. Check with them to see if you can do a dry run before your trip if you have first time travelers.
Tips for Easy Car Travel:
- Be sure your child’s car seat is properly installed.
- Get plenty of sleep. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
- Have a navigator. Yes, we all have modern technology, but let your passengers check the maps for routes, road hazards, up-to-date traffic, etc. This might be a great activity for older kids.
- If you are renting a car try to familiarize yourself with the model beforehand. It’s likely that the vehicle manual will not be in the glove compartment. Bring your own car seat if at all possible.
Be sure to bring plenty of snacks, books and toys to occupy your child. There are lots of family games you can play while you are in the car. See who can find the most state license plates or the most colorful billboard. Better yet, keep track of who doesn’t say, “Are we there yet?” Traveling with children takes some skill, patience, organization and lots of love. Wishing you Safe Travels!
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.