There’s no doubt that cars are absolute life-savers for busy parents. But there are some important things you should know about looking after both your car and your little ones in (and around) it.
Car maintenance might come naturally to some but it’s often something that many of us aren’t quite as across. There’s no shame in not being an expert in this department – many of us aren’t! But it is important to understand the basics. From things like, how often the car needs to be serviced and how to put air in the tyres to who sits where and keeping the keys out of little ones’ reach.
We’ve teamed up with our friends at Kia Australia to bring you 10 safety tips for parents and little ones on the go.
1. Click-clack front and back
When we’re busy and rushing around it can be easy to forget even the simplest of things. Remembering to put your seatbelt on is a simple one but it can truly save a life. Making sure your children are all clicked in and secured correctly – and yourself too – is so important.
Get your kids involved by making up a song or playing a game to check everyone is buckled up and good to go!
Many cars these days will come with an alert if you try and drive without everyone being clicked in.
2. Car seats + boosters
Making sure your child’s car seat or booster meets Australian standards, is in good condition and has been fitted correctly is vital for ensuring their safety.
There are 4 different types of car seats for children depending on their age:
- Capsule – used for babies 0 to 6 months
- Forward-facing car seat – used for babies 6 months – 4 years
- Convertible car seats – used for babies 0 – 8 years
- Booster seat – used for children aged 4-8
Children under 7 must always be in the back seat in a forward-facing child seat or booster.
3. Regular servicing
Keeping on top of the maintenance of your car is extremely important. Checking the tyres and water regularly should be done by you. Also booking in for regular servicing is important to make sure everything under the hood is working as it should be.
How often you need to service your car will depend on the make and model, generally, it should be around every 6-12 months. They will perform a safety check to make sure your car is up to scratch.
There’s no shame in not being an expert in this department – many of us aren’t!
Kia cars come with a 7-year capped price servicing as well as a 7-year warranty, which means there are no surprises. You’ll know exactly how much a standard service will cost and what exactly is being done on your car. This helps to take all the guesswork (and stress) out of looking after your car.
4. Who sits where?
When thinking about which side is best to put your baby’s car seat in, typically most experts recommend your baby goes on the kerb-side. This is so you can safely load them into the car from the kerb without oncoming traffic.
Once you have a second child, it can be a good idea to move them to the other side and then make it a game for them to climb into their seat from the kerbside whilst you secure the baby. And then you can quickly click them in. Making it into a game or a race will make them excited to do it (which we know with toddlers can be tricky!)
Getting multiple kids into the car can be a difficult one for many parents to figure out at first. How you manage it really depends on the age gap, what type of pram/capsule you have – and of course, whether your oldest child is a flight risk.
Remember that if your newborn is secured into their capsule or pram they can’t go anywhere. So, if you need to, you can park the pram close to the car on the kerb with the brake secured whilst you wrangle your older child.
5. Keep calm and drive on
‘Ha yeah right’ we hear you scoff! We know, it’s not always possible when the kids are crying, fighting, singing or demanding snacks from the backseat. It can be stressful. Trying to drive with so many distractions can be difficult and often dangerous.
Try and get the kids set up with a distraction, whether it’s a favourite toy – or perhaps a car toy that they only have in the car which makes it a little bit more interesting. Otherwise, pop a show on their iPad or their favourite songs to sing along to. You can even get them to spot buses or trucks, or play I-spy.
It won’t always go to plan, and halfway through your trip they can have a meltdown.
Remember that even if they are crying, they are safely strapped in and so take your time to find somewhere safe to pull over and check on them if you need to. Chances are they are just tired/cranky/over it. Sometimes we have to drive to the soundtrack of screams and there’s just no avoiding it.
Tip! Some Kia models come pre-programmed with the sounds of nature feature, so think of it as your very own in-built white noise machine. Perfect for creating a calm mood for little ones (and you too).
6. Keep the keys safe
Little ones love any chance to pretend to do grown-up things – and they love playing with keys. Make sure you lock the car when you’re not using it at home and keep the keys up high away from curious little hands so they can’t get into the car or turn the ignition on without you.
Keys can also be like a rattle and a great distraction when you’re trying to get your cheeky toddler into the car. But be careful that they don’t accidentally lock the car whilst holding them (trust us, it’s easily done!)
7. Don’t let kids play in or around the car
We hear too many stories about kids accidentally starting cars or playing around them without their parents realising and the outcomes can be deadly. Make sure your child never plays in the car or garage without an adult present and always check your surroundings before you put your car into drive.
Tip: Kia’s impressive range of added safety features includes a 360° view camera as well as Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance, Blind Spot Detection and Safe Exit Alert. These features give you the added peace of mind to know that your car is working just as hard as you are to keep you and your precious cargo safe.
8. Child-proof locks on windows and doors
This doesn’t become a major thing until your child gets older – when they’re a baby they won’t be able to reach. However, curious toddlers love to explore and open things – especially windows and doors. Putting the child-proof lock on the door ensures they can’t open it whilst you’re driving.
Any parent will tell you snacks are an essential part of most car trips (long or short!) and are often the secret to a few moments of peace and quiet. However, it’s important to make sure you aren’t giving them anything that might be a choking hazard. Avoid things such as carrot sticks, apples, popcorn, grapes and blueberries as these are all high-choking risks.
10. Roadside assist
It can be a good idea to invest in roadside assistance to give you that added peace of mind that if something goes wrong you are covered. These days many of us don’t know how to change a tyre, and many cars run off a computer system that needs a professional to fix. The thought of being stuck on the side of the road with screaming children is every parent’s worst nightmare.
Cars are such an incredibly important part of our lives as modern parents; not only taking us from school to work to playdates and appointments and all the adventures we will go on as a family. Knowing how to properly care for them to ensure they are running safely and smoothly will mean you can spend more time going on adventures and making memories.
The Kia family car range has safety at the forefront without compromising on innovation and sophisticated styling. They combine intelligent technology with remarkable performance and comfort across the range. Parents can relax and enjoy the ride knowing their cars are built with families in mind.
This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x Kia Australia.