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Tips for driving with children in the car

14th October 2022

Embarking on a long car journey with children can be quite daunting. With kids of all ages, it can be challenging to ensure you get to your destination on time whilst ensuring your little ones are entertained - not to mention adhering to safety laws. We have compiled a helpful, easy-to-read guide full of helpful tips to make your journey run as smooth as possible.

Driving with children

Car seat safety

According to GOV UK, until the age of 12 or 135cm tall, children must use a child car seat. Children over the age of 12 or 135cm tall must wear a seat belt. You can choose a child's car seat based on your child’s weight or height.

Weight-based car seats

This refers to the seat your child can use and how they must be fastened in it based on weight. There are 5 groups ranging from 0kg - 10kg for group 0, to 22kg – 36kg for group 3. It is important to know that only EU-approved weight-based child car seats can be used in the UK.

Height-based car seats

Height-based car seats are referred to as ‘i-Size’ seats. Only EU-approved height-based child car seats can be used in the UK and show a capital ‘E’ within a circle and the code ‘R129’ on the label. If your child is under 15 months old, car seats must be rear-facing. If your child is over 15 months old, they can  use a forward-facing car seat. You must check the car seat to ensure it is suitable for the height of your child.

What to know when fitting a child car seat

If your car’s seat belt has a diagonal strap, then you are permitted to use a child car seat. However, there are some exclusions, such as whether the car seat is fitted using ISOFIX anchors points or whether the car seat has been specifically designed for use with a lap seat belt.

When fitting a car seat, you must ensure to not fit a child’s car seat in side-facing seats and be sure to deactivate any front airbags before fitting a rear-facing baby seat in a front seat.

Tips for driving with children

Now we have covered safety, here are some more generic tried and tested tips for those long car journeys with children –

  • Put nursery rhymes/favourite songs on
  • Have snacks on hand and easily accessible
  • Play car games such as counting how many of the same-coloured cars you can see
  • Take a tablet or iPad to watch movies or shows on, you can also have this secured around the passenger and drivers headrest
  • For new-borns, ensure you have a rear mirror situated correctly so you can see them
  • If your journey is particularly long, consider temperature control such as seat warmers to help with car naps
  • Make sure to activate childproofed locks
  • If you’re driving in the dark, ensure full beams are on where lighting is visible
  • Consider dash cams if you wish to take extra precaution
  • Get your baby on board badges ready and secured

Get your car child-safety ready by booking in for a service at your local Merityre branch, or contact our friendly team for more helpful advice.