Fun And Safety On Your Family Road Trip

Apr 13, 2011

By Staff writer State Farm™ Employee

With the weather improving, daylight increasing, and summer not too far away, you may be getting that old feeling: time to break the hold of cabin fever and hit the road for a vacation.

As most driving enthusiasts know, road trips can be a great way to experience our country’s vast expanses. But for young parents without much experience driving long distances with infants and toddlers along, knowing how to keep everyone entertained – and safe – presents its own unique challenges.

Here are a few suggestions of how to pass the time with the little ones without adding any undue risk to your trip.

The Old Standards

There’s a reason everyone knows what a sing-a-long is, and the same goes for classic, simple games like Eye Spy and Twenty Questions. These activities require nothing beyond curiosity and enthusiasm, and if your children are old enough to participate, these games can provide hours of fun and help stave off the doldrums.

Before you leave, think about packing a children’s songbook. An audio CD of children’s songs can also be extremely helpful in keeping the new tunes coming. And, finally, make sure to bring along enough notebooks and pencils for the younger passengers: you never know when a spontaneous game of Draw That Mountain or Which License Plates Have We Seen? might break out.

Favorite Toys

So long as they don’t create a distraction for the driver, there’s no reason not to pack a travel-sized basket of favorite toys. Any parent knows the endless fascination the right object, at the right time, can provide for a baby.

Technology is Your Friend

Many newer vehicles – especially family-oriented vehicles like minivans – come equipped with a built-in DVD player for the backseat passengers to watch. A favorite cartoon or movie can provide a nice break in the action of the road. And if your vehicle doesn’t come equipped with such technology, you might consider renting or purchasing a handheld DVD player or using a laptop to the same effect.

Just be sure to keep the volume at a safe and reasonable level that will allow the driver to stay focused on the road. Never try to watch a DVD or video monitor if you’re the one doing the driving.

Frequent Breaks

Road trips are all about the experience – when you’re traveling with infants and toddlers, take frequent breaks to stretch, rest, play, and take in the scenery. Diversity throughout the day will keep the driver alert and the passengers pleased. Try to concentrate less on the time you’re making and more on the journey itself. You never know: you may just enjoy yourself!

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