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Suggestions for keeping children comfortable and busy on family road trips

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Even the most loving family members can start to drive each other crazy after a few hours of being trapped in a vehicle. The ultimate challenge for road trippers is to find the right gear and activities to keep everyone satisfied and occupied. Here are a few suggestions for keeping younger travelers safe and content.

Most states require parents to keep their babies and children in car seats or booster seats until they reach specific ages and weights. To view the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggestions for selecting and installing car seats click this link: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS. The Bubble Bum is a booster seat that's fairly new to the market but is quickly becoming popular with parents and children. It's lightweight, compact, and inflatable. The Bubble Bum is filled with air so it's much softer than conventional booster seats that are more rigid. A softer seat makes long rides more comfortable. Visit the Bubble Bum website to find out more about it and to see a list of awards that it has received - http://www.bubblebum.co/us/.

Traffic jams, road repair work, and accidents can slow down a car trip. Having the sun beaming into the car window at any time, but especially during one of those slow downs, can be a nightmare. If traffic slows down the person sitting next to the window can feel like they're being cooked. Sun shades help to block out excess light and reduce heat during the sunniest part of the day. Sun shades for the car are inexpensive but can make a road trip much more pleasant. Safety 1st sells a 2-pack of peel and stick sunshades for less than $5 - http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3749220. There are numerous varieties of sun shades that can be purchased from specialty and discount stores.

Find It is one of the best games a family can pack for a road trip. It's quiet and no batteries or electricity are needed. People of all ages enjoy hunting for hidden objects buried inside of the portable Find It container. Everyone in the car can take turns shaking and turning the game until all of the hidden objects are found. There are several versions of Find It available. Find It Original, Find It On The Farm, Find It At The Beach, Find It At The Zoo, and Find It Glitz & Glamour are just a few of the game themes. Visit the Find It website to find out more about the game that will entertain people ages 8 to 98 - http://www.finditgames.com/.

Books on CD can make travel time in a car go by faster. Bringing along books that allow younger readers to follow along can be an excellent opportunity for them to work on their reading skills or simply be entertained. While the children enjoy their books parents are free to concentrate on driving. The Barnes & Noble website has hundreds of audio books to choose from for kids in every age group - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/?aref=3146&cat=833709&fmt=audio&srt=sa&store=BOOK. Amazon.com also offers a variety of children's books on CD - http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3AChildren%27s%20audiobooks&page=1.

Two classic ways to pass the time while riding are word search puzzles and crossword puzzles. Inexpensive and widely available, they require concentration and not much else. They're perfect for creating quiet time on the road. To make them more fun parents can challenge young passengers to complete them in a specific amount of time. Parents can purchase or create identical versions of the same puzzles and offer a prize for the first child to complete the puzzle. Discovery Education has made creating original word puzzles easy. Click this link to use the free PUZZLEMAKER - http://www.discoveryeducation.com/free-puzzlemaker/?CFID=2629947&CFTOKEN=97772767.

If children are occupied on a road trip they're not as restless and the trip is not as tedious. Plan ahead to keep them busy. Bring drinks and snacks so that they don't get hungry. Be sure to have them use the restroom before hitting the road. Advise them in advance of a rest stop schedule to avoid unnecessary stops. But be prepared to stop for emergencies.

Related Links:

http://www.mommieswithstyle.com/the-go-pillow-a-must-have-item-for-on-the-go-travel/

http://www.safekids.org/safety-basics/safety-resources-by-risk-area/car-seats-boosters-seat-belts-/?gclid=CP-w0Nyus7ACFYRgTAod9VYvsw

http://www.kidsandcars.org/?gclid=CI-yloOvs7ACFQLktgodIghwTg

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