Many thanks to Sarah Pye, the author of the fabulous guidebook for traveling families: “Kids Welcome to Queensland” for this useful post.
All over Australia, each school holidays, families hitch their wagons and head out into the great outdoors. I should know, I am one of them! My daughter Amber and I travel around our beautiful wide brown land writing reviews of family-friendly places for the Kids Welcome online directory, guidebooks and phone app. (Yes, I know, we have the best job in the world!).
Before we head off, we always pay close attention to the safety of our car and camping trailer and I recommend you do this too. Besides making sure your oil and water are topped up, and servicing your vehicle, travelling with kids comes with a few extra considerations. Use this checklist to ensure your holiday is the best it can be…
First aid kit
Whether it be for your family, or others you may come across, having a well-stocked first aid kit is a must on the road. St John’s Ambulance sells wonderful kits online and you can add a few child-friendly essentials to their packs. These are things I wouldn’t leave home without:
Gauze and elastic bandages
Band aids in all sizes
Swaps and cotton wool
Benadine to sterilize cuts and grazes
Gloves (useful for attending to other people)
Tweezers (great for splinters)
Saline solution (great for flushing eyes)
A note book for recording emergencies
A list of emergency contact numbers for each state (you can find one on www.kidswelcome.com.au)
Kids grow fast, and laws pertaining to child restraints have recently been updated. Don’t risk a fine, or injury and make sure you child is using the right device:
- Children under six months must be secured in a backward facing seat/cot.
- Six months to one year, in a backward or forward facing seat.
- 4-7 years in a booster or child seat forward facing.
- Children under four are not permitted in the front seat.
- Children 4-7 must not travel in the front seat unless the back seat is occupied by younger children.
Buying appropriate restraints:
It’s really attractive to buy used child seats and boosters because you can save quite a packet. What you don’t know, is whether used seats comply, or if they are even safe, so avoid the temptation.
Even when you have the right restraint, it doesn’t work unless it is installed properly. Make sure you read the instructions carefully if you are doing this yourself. For a little extra piece of mind, the Roads and Maritime Service can help send you in the direction of an authorised fitter. Call 13 22 13.
Your entire family safety rides on your tyres so check them regularly and replace when needed. RACV found that imported tyres are often faulty and recommend Australian manufactured ones. They also suggest checking tyre pressure regularly, making sure valve caps are always on and aligning and balancing wheels regularly.
It doesn’t matter if you are exploring the outback or heading for the hills, with a little forward planning, your family escape will be something you will remember for a long time to come… for the right reasons!
Sarah Pye is the author of Kids Welcome to Queensland guidebook, Travel with Kids blog, and the Kids Welcome online directory. It includes reviews of over 2000 activities, attractions, tours, events, places to stay, places to eat, playgrounds and beaches in Australia. Plus travel tips and great travel games. Sarah travels with her daughter Amber, her chief expert! You can find them on Facebook.