Traveling with a toddler is always an adventure — no matter where you go!

In observance of Child Passenger Safety Week, we’ve compiled a safety checklist for trips near and far. And because we care about your mental health (wink), we’ve also included some parental survival strategies for good measure.

Plan your getaway and go make some great road trip memories!


Safety First

  1. Make sure your car’s road-ready – A lot can happen out there, so be sure to get your car serviced ahead of time. Tires, oil, engine fluids, wipers — make sure they’re all in tip-top shape.
  2. Get a car seat inspection – If you have any doubts about whether your car seat’s installed properly, you can book an appointment with a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in your community by visiting here (use the search tool at the bottom). While you’re at it, register your seat online so you can get notified in case of a safety recall.
  3. Guard against heatstroke – Heatstroke can occur at any time of year, in any condition, and in any community. Protect your child by taking them with you instead of leaving them in the car alone and always looking in your car before locking. Keep your vehicle locked when not in use (and keys away from curious little hands).
  4. Eliminate back over risk – Tragically, many children are killed or injured by cars backing out of driveways and parking spaces. There are many precautions you can take as a driver and ways you can protect your children against a backover accident — see the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s list here.
  5. Don’t leave them alone in the car – Even if you need to run into the store for “just a minute” it’s better to be safe than sorry. From heat stroke to foul play to your child getting loose in the car, the risk of leaving them in the car far outweighs any savings in time or trouble.
  6. Make sure you have roadside assistance – Out of mind when you don’t need it, priceless when you do — roadside assistance is especially important when traveling with young ones. It usually covers towing to a service station, battery jumping, flat tire repairs, unlocking car doors, and a range of other catastrophe rescues.
  7. Pack your first aid kit – Bruises, scrapes, stings, sunburns, and splinters are just as likely to happen away from home. Be ready with your kit, and maybe even refresh your first aid and CPR skills.
  8. Prevent power window injuries – Keep little fingers, hands, and wrists safe by using the power window locks, making sure toddlers are secure in their car seats, and teach them not to play with the switches.
  9. Secure the seat belts – Keep your child from getting entangled in seat belts by securing the loose ones within their reach. Ensure they’re restrained in their car seat at all times while in the car.


Sanity-Savers for You

  1. Separate the kids – It’s inevitable: if you’re traveling with more than one kid, they’re going to fight at some point. Get ahead of the inevitable by seating them as far from each other as possible. Obviously, the bigger the car, the easier this is.
  2. Take breaks – Kids need to move. Heck, adults need to move! If you can look for parks or playgrounds, all the better — but any place that lets you stretch your legs, move around and break up the monotony will work.
  3. Prep your hygiene arsenal – Make sure to pack plenty of potty supplies, wipes, tissues, and paper towels (not to mention cleaning supplies for spills and food accidents).
  4. Kid-ify your itinerary – Plan your trip with your kid(s) in mind. This means taking nap schedules and energy peaks/valleys into account, and planning out when you’ll arrive at destinations (and what those are), when will be best for the multi-hour highway time, etc.
  5. Stock up on healthy snacks – Having nutritious snacks on hand prevents you from desperation-buying chips at the gas station or sitting through a sugar crash tantrum. Raw veggies, fruit, trail mix, crackers, and low-sugar baked goods are usually winners.
  6. Don’t forget the entertainment – Keeping toys and books close to your toddler will allow you to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. If your car has a screen, bring in-flight entertainment! Finally, playing road games is a favorite, no matter the generation.
  7. Bring binkies and blankies – It’s important to pack some comfort from home if you’ll be gone for any length of time. Blankies and binkies might calm your child like nothing else in the midst of the excitement and new surroundings.

Prepping ahead of time will make any road trip smoother, but it does wonders for traveling with toddlers.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

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