Thursday, 6 September 2012

Planning a road trip? 4 Tips on how to pack safely!

When I think of New Zealand one thing springs to mind - road trips! Spring has finally arrived and I'm already planning adventures around beautiful Aotearoa. Times have changed now though, and since becoming  a parent I can no longer just hop in the car and go. I am no longer the car free traveler of yesteryear. My trips are now planned with military precision, the car is packed with everything but the kitchen sink, and we cruise to the laid back sounds of "the wiggles". 

With all these "relaxing" trips to look forward to, learning how to pack your cargo securely will protect your most precious cargo of all (your kids)!  

Here are some of the car seat lady's tips for traveling safely! 

  1. Prioritise what you pack:   If you don't need it, or can get it when you get to your destination, don't bring it.   
  2. Put it in the boot:  Pack the heaviest items in the boot - and if you need to have items in the passenger area, make sure they are the lightest items you are taking (like extra pillows, etc).  If you don't have a separate boot but there is a 3rd row of seats, try keeping the seats up to serve as a barrier between the cargo and the passengers.  Pack the heaviest items against the back of the vehicle seat and the lightest items closest to the boot opening.  When you slam on the brakes, the nose of the car goes down - making the things closest to the boot opening the most likely to fly up and over into the passenger area - so make these items the lightest ones that you are packing.  Note: the horizontal cargo covers that come with most SUVs and wagons will not keep cargo restrained - they are simply so that no one can see what you have in your trunk. 
  3. Keep your pets safe- and keep yourself safe from your pet:   A 20lb dog will weigh 600lbs in a 30mph crash.  Try to harness your pet in, IMMI, our a US company that makes a pet harness that is crash tested and can keep your dog from flying around in the event of a crash.It works for both small and large dogs and allows the dog to sit or lie down - but will prevent the dog from flying around the car in a crash (and from jumping on top of your child during a regular car ride).   Make sure you research the harness you buy as many dog harnesses will break in a crash situation. 
  4. The OUCH Test:  When giving your child a toy in the car, try to make it as soft and lightweight as possible.  Not sure if the toy would hurt - do the ouch test - take the toy, hit yourself in the head - if you have to say ouch it would likely hurt if it hit the child in a crash.  One other thing that fails the ouch test - the mirrors that you can place on the rear head rest to see the baby.  Not only are they a danger to the baby - but they are also a danger to everyone else in the car as they are a distraction to the driver - encouraging the driver to stare at their very cute baby, instead of the road ahead.

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