Jeff Osborne, Head of Automotive for Gumtree SA, says choosing a car seat should be prioritised above any other purchase:“Research indicates that a correctly fitted, safe car seat reduces the chances of your baby dying in an accident by as much as 70%. For a toddler that number is just over 50%.”
Osborne adds that it’s also important to make sure your baby’s car seat is properly sized and installed. He recommends getting a car with an ISOFIX baby seat mount embedded in the rear seat bench.
Once the car seat is sorted out, Jeff has eight other tips for a safe and enjoyable journey with your small kids.
- Keep your child busy on the road so they do not distract you from driving. Pack in a few soft toys they could play with while on the road.
- Drive when your child is most likely to take a nap so they sleep during most of the journey.
- Install a baby mirror and mount it under the existing rearview mirror or on your sun visor and angle it so you can keep an eye on the backseat.
- Never leave home without essential medication – permanently keep an emergency pack in the boot of your car.
- Keep a mobile phone on hand that has essential numbers on speed dial.
- Don’t feed your baby while the car is in motion, rather pull over at a rest stop with proper facilities.
- Keep the atmosphere in the car calm and tranquil, with soft voices and music. Agitation and tension from other passengers and loud music can quickly boil over into a stressful situation.
- Fill up before your go – your car and your belly. A full tank will allow you to keep going for longer and a full belly keeps you from making too many stops along the way.