Malaysians are very fond of bringing their kids out with them wherever they go. If you visit hotspots or any malls on weekends, chances are you’d bump into screaming or kids crying for no reason, simply to get attention from their helpless parents or they simply hated being at a place. And even more annoying is the fact that these clueless folks, mostly of younger age group, allow their kids to run around freely and almost rampantly, while they go about their business. Imagine kids behaving without any restraints in a car, wouldn’t it be dangerous?
The other thing is traveling with kids locally could be stressful enough, imagine traveling with kids on long distance trips or even abroad… It’s inevitable as Asian folks are more attached to their kids for some reason or other. Western folks would do the right thing by leaving young kids with the elders or relatives until they’re old enough to at least behave themselves in public.
For first time parents, it must be an exciting experience to drive around with their kids. The necessity to include kids and elders give rise to the popularity of large SUVs and MPVs with 5- or 7-seater configuration, in this country and most Asian cities. On the average in Asia most people got 3 kids, which means a 5-seater SUV more than does the job. But for those who decide to bring the whole clan, then an MPV is a better bet.
Here are some safety tips to observe when traveling with infants or young kids:
Make sure you are familiar with the car and that your child is safely secured. If you’re traveling with a toddler or baby, make sure to give proper due attention, from time to time on distance drives.
Child car seats with ISOFIX points. You must have a child car seat for any children up to 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first. Most car models have ISOFIX points, these days. Make sure your child is as comfortable as possible and take off extra clothing as it could interfere with the correct operation of the child seat in a collision. Consider getting an extra child rearview mirror if you like to keep an eye on what’s happening on the back seat. Make sure it doesn’t obscure your forward view.
Another thing to keep track on is the air-conditioning or heater. In this country, most likely just the a/c. Have a fixed set temperature at comfort level for you and all occupants, especially younger occupants. This is important as children gets cold fair quickly and you don’t want your kids to freeze in the car, right?
Make the journey fun! If your children are old enough, get them to look out for any landmarks. Or how about a game of car color or the first to spot a sportscar? Bring your child’s favorite toys, games and books to keep them entertained. Playing games in the car can take their focus off the journey but ensure you don’t get distracted yourself.
Pack some snacks. In case of any delays it’s great to have snacks on hand and ready. Consider bringing a cool bag where you can bring healthy snacks such as coco sticks, grapes and juice boxes.
Last but not least, keep your vehicle’s speed at a constant and do not get into a road rage when you have kids onboard. Braking hard frequently isn’t advisable as it might be hazardous for young children. If travelling a long distance try to arrange your travel to coincide with nap time, this may make for a more relaxing drive for you and the kids. For short journeys encourage simple games, that keep kids occupied rather than distracting you when you got to weave in and out of traffic.