Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Roadtrips: Are You Prepared?

This week we did the unthinkable.

We were warned against it by many other veteran parents, but we didn't listen. Nope. Instead, we packed the kids in the car and drove 400 miles to San Francisco to visit grandma and grandpa.

It may not seem like much to some, but for those of you that have done it, you know that this is no easy feat. A road trip with just two people is hard enough. I have been known to pack the entire trunk full during the days that it was just me and the hubby. Add two little ones on top of that and you can imagine. We bought a big SUV when we found out we would soon be growing into a family of four. It proved to be not big enough.

With Stella being in 2 years old and Carter being a mere 2 months old, preparation for this trip was a non-negotiable. And that preparation meant packing lots and lots of stuff. Aside from the normal kids stuff (the snacks, books, videos and diapers), I also started thinking about things that I'm not sure enough families think about: emergency things.

A worry wart by nature, I am always worried about driving with the kids. I mostly worry about my hubby's sometimes too aggressive driving nature and unsafe lane changes.

But some recent conversations among friends have led to another concern. When packing for this trip, I started thinking about the possibility of being stranded in the middle of nowhere. A broken down car on some desolate highway could be a disaster for a family. We tend to think that with our cell phones we are never out of touch, but even driving from southern to northern California, reception is spotty.

So I started packing bottles of water and extra food. I thought, sure why not bring some additional layers of clothes, just in case. I checked to make sure the car was well-stocked with First Aid supplies — going beyond just Band-Aids and ointment.

There are so many things to think about when traveling with children. It's easy to accidentally leave something important behind.

To put my mind at ease for the trip, and in general, I've decided that It doesn't hurt to always leave some emergency items in the car.

There are many roadside emergency kit checklists online that can help parents, or anyone, to increase safety, reduce stress and get back on the road faster. Check out this list by Consumer Reports, for an example, and customize it to fit your family's needs.

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