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Top tips for travelling with children

Car seat experts Graco have launched a safety campaign in collaboration with Halfords and Dadsnet, aiming to help parents achieve the ultimate goal – safe and happy car journeys with kids.

According to research conmductred with Graco’s 15,000 Instagram followers, parents prioritise three key factors for journeys – safety, entertainment and cleanliness.

Keeping it clean
82 per cent admit trying to keep the child car seats clean with 83 per cent using a pack of baby wipes for pretty much everything – sticky hands and faces, the car seat, the dashboard, backs of seats and muddy boots!

Keeping it fun
When it comes to entertainment, 62 per cent pack an electronic gadget and 62 per cent call on a good old fashioned sing along to bust boredom. (Graco has set up a Spotify playlist of the tunes their followers said are their family favourites)

Keeping it safe
A huge 98 per cent claim safety is their highest priority, but more than half (56 per cent) admit to always rushing out.

The safety campaign includes advice, informative videos and the most salient safety messages via a memorable H.A.P.P.Y acronym.

Five-step ‘H.A.P.P.Y’ safety checker

H:       Harness & Handlebar
The harness should always be equal / level with the child’s shoulders. One in 10 of Graco’s Instagram followers travel with the harness/headrest too high. For Group 0+/i-Size infant carriers the handlebar must be upright, as it acts as a secondary safety measure in the event of an accident. A third (35 per cent) of Graco’s social media followers admit to travelling with the handle down.

A:      Airbag
Six per cent or Graco’s followers do not deactivate the front passenger seat air bag when travelling with a child rear facing in an infant carrier. It is a legal requirement to deactivate the air bag when rear facing for your child’s safety. You must always check the car vehicle manual and the car seat instruction manual. It’s recommended that children under the age of 12 do not travel in the front passenger seat.

P:       Pinch test (you might know it as the two finger rule)
To ensure the five-point harness is secure, and not too loose, try to pinch the belt strap – if you can pinch it so the fabric bunches in your fingers, the harness is too loose. More than half (60 per cent ) of Graco’s followers do not know about this simple test.

P:       Passenger Side
Always position the youngest passenger behind the passenger seat. In the event of an accident, breakdown or when simply just parking your car, you are safer leaning in to remove the little one from the car while standing on the other side.

Y:       Years, height or weight?
Keep checking your child is in the right seat for their height and weight – the age measure is only a suggested guide. There are two regulations in current use: R44 and R129. R44 regulated seats are grouped based on weight while R129 (i-Size) seats are defined on height.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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