Children inevitably get antsy during car rides. They complain, yell, cry and scream. Their antics can be irritating for parents and more than just a minor inconvenience. In fact, their antics can make it difficult for parents to focus on driving and can lead to accidents. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) more than a million and a half accidents each year can be attributed to driver distraction. Of course, there is the well-documented problem of parents texting while driving or make cell phone calls. Those distractions lead to countless accidents, but the distraction caused by child passengers cannot be discounted. Of the more than a million and a half accidents each year attributed to driver distraction, around 24% occur as a direct result of drivers being distracted by children in the backseat. The solution would appear to be simple: find a way to keep your children occupied and they won’t be able to distract you. But that can be easier said than done. So what can parents do to keep their children occupied?
Ways to Keep Your Children Occupied
Play movies, books on tape and music.
Many children love to watch movies and a portable DVD player makes that option possible. Perhaps most importantly, a movie can last a few hours. A child might be glued to the screen or he or she may even fall asleep. Either way, the child is occupied. Books on tape and music can serve the same purpose. They keep children occupied for long stretches of time.
Bring games that children can play on their own.
Action figures, portable video games and books can occupy your children’s attention. Put these items in a small bag so that your children can access them easily and move on to a new activity when they choose.
Play games with your children that allow you to engage them and still focus on the road.
There are a number of games that parents can play with their children and still focus on the road. Some options include the alphabet game, license plate game, trivia and a variety of other games. These games can last a long time and be enjoyable for the entire family.
Pack snacks and take breaks.
Don’t underestimate the headache that can come with a hungry or cranky child. Packing healthy or light snacks can allow parents to avoid the whining that often occurs when a child is hungry. Also, stopping to take breaks to stretch and use the bathroom can help keep children comfortable and relaxed.
The options listed above are by no means exhaustive. They are just some options available to parents. While these options are more feasible for some families than others, there are limitless options available, which means there are no excuses for parents doing nothing. It simply takes creativity and a willingness to find what works in order to keep your children occupied. This is so crucial because there is more than just a parent’s patience at stake. What is at stake is the safety of both the driver and the children riding in the backseat. Driver distraction is not something that should be taken lightly.