With summer only a few sunrises away, many families in North America are planning to gas up, hit the open road, and spend some quality time together. Whether your road trip is going to last a few days or stretch over many weeks, cramming a family into a small space can be a catalyst for stress and worry. We believe that your road trip should consist of more memory-making than worry-creating, so here are a few tips to help ease the potential stressors that may arise so you can focus on family.
The worst part about traveling with kids, especially when flying, is carrying all their stuff. Even if you take the bare minimum of entertainment and snacks, you’re stills stuck with all the necessities, “what ifs” and worst of all: car seats.
Because it’s not safe to rent a car seat, and it’s not advised to check a car seat (even gateside) for risk of it getting lost or damaged, and all kids require some form of safety device getting to and from the airport if riding in a car, that leaves most parents schlepping car seats on and off the airplane. And often multiple seats if there are multiple kids involved!
Despite loving formal silverware and gourmet foods, people who know me wouldn’t usually use ‘stuffy’ in my bio. Hailing from Nova Scotia, it was actually my grandfather’s Navy background that instilled the British formality, and being a year-long exchange student in Germany that sparked the passion for travel. My business and life are more about making luxury more accessible rather than being highbrow. So when I interview Steve Carlisle about the new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox and he talks about the democratization of the technology in the vehicle – my ears perk up.
If a car could tell a story about real life for a family it would be the Honda Odyssey. Like the story of the day your baby came home from the hospital and you were so nervous you shook. And the time you accidentally drove through a red light and managed to avoid the accident that almost killed everybody in the car. That family road trip to the coast where your daughter confessed that she had fallen in love. And the morning you drove your child and her jittery friends to their graduation ceremony.
Since the vehicle is so versatile and timeless, it becomes the one constant that follows and facilitates all of those real family moments. This minivan could tell 1 million stories, because a family is going to want to keep it for a very long time.
If ONLY this were around when my kids were little. I remember the contortions and broken nails trying to hook up the *9Ghjeu!!!%(* car seats. And even better – when you test drive family vehicles as part of your profession? You have to shift them weekly (along with stale french fries and empty juice boxes). The new Britax Advocate ClickTight Convertible car seat makes me want to have it in the car just because it’s so easy to install. It includes the ClickTight Installation System for the safest and easiest installation in every car, every time. It’s also built for the Canadian as well as the US market. This seat offers three layers of side impact protection, an impact-absorbing base and steel frame for maximum safety.
Road trip season is upon us and while we understand why you’re considering faking a flat tire to avoid the imminent whining from the back seat— we challenge you to put aside your fears and create lifelong memories along the ribbons of roads that cross North America. CTV Morning Live invited me on set to chat about these trip tips, and—while organizing for the segment—the nostalgia swept over me and I wanted to share some of my personal family road trip tips with you.
Summer means long family road trips, and also the onset of ‘Are we there yet?’ and ‘I’m HUNGRY!’. Parents can hardly get the car packed and still have time to come up with healthy road trip snack ideas for kids, but we’ve come up with a few cool ideas that gan get you out of a rut. Well, hopefully not a real rut. Maybe driving safety tips will be next…
It seemed like flying over the beautiful islands between Vancouver and Victoria on a fabulously sunny spring day would be the thing that really launched this adventure on a high note—that is, until I saw a tiny deer grazing on the grass of a residential home in Oak Bay. Even though I was here to test drive a vehicle, I had a hunch that this journey had a little magic in it’s back pocket, but the big surprise was that the cool activities I was scheduled for at the spectacular resort I would be visiting, totally did not overshadow the experience of driving the new 2016 Chevy Malibu.
Fact: Results from safety checks across Canada reveal that between 30-80% of child car and booster seats inspected are installed incorrectly. Is yours one of them?
Fact: Car crashes are a leading cause of death and hospitalizations for Canadian children under the age of 14.
From using the wrong car seat at the wrong age, to relying on Dr. Google for instructions on proper car seat installation, parents are unknowingly making potentially deadly travel safety decisions.
Certified Car Seat Installation Technician and Parenting Expert Maureen Dennis is here to explain the Five Mistakes parents are making when hitting the road — and how to avoid them.
1. Wrong Seat at the Wrong Age. A common mistake made by parents is not using the correct seat for the child’s height, weight, and developmental stage. This can usually be seen when parents move their child to the next stage too quickly (rushing to get them into a booster seat to accommodate a new baby when they still fit in their harnessed forward-facing seat, for example). Solution: Know the guidelines of when to make a car seat adjustment and know your child’s height and weight.
2. Car seat not securely installed. Another error often made is when attaching the car seat inside the car. In many cases, the seat is too loosely installed and not tightly secured to the vehicle. Solution: Your car seat should not move more than 2.5 cm (or 1 inch) in any direction at the base of the seat, right at the seat belt or UAS path.
3. Harness on the child is too loose. How tight is too tight? A common mistake is leaving the harness too loose and not having your child secured properly. Solution: Conduct the “pinch test”. You should not be able to pinch any of the harness webbing at the child’s shoulder.
4. Placing the chest clip. Another common mistake found is where parents place the chest clip. Solution: The chest clip should always be at the armpit level – not too low, such as down near their belly button, or up too close- near the neck.
5. Improper placement. Even if the car seat is installed and securely fastened, there are still errors that can occur which may harm your child. Solution: Make sure that seats in a rear-facing position are at a 45 degree angle to support the baby’s head and neck. All forward-facing seats require a tether strap that hooks to a tether anchor in your car, so make sure you don’t forget that step.
Car seat safety cannot be taken lightly. It is important to install your car seat properly and securely in order for it to do its job in the event of a collision or crash. According to a report from the Canadian Paediatric Society, child seats, when used correctly, reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% and the risk of serious injury by 67%. Using a booster seat instead of just a seat belt alone is a reduction of 59% in injury risk.
To make sure you know how to properly install your car seat, Chevrolet is working with Parachute, a national charitable organization dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives, to host free car seat installation workshops for families and caregivers.
Sessions will begin at Chevrolet dealerships in Vancouver and Toronto in April 2014. No matter what vehicle you drive, or the type of car seat you own, parents and caregivers can register online now for their free expert consultation (www.safeandsure.ca).
Photo: Britax Pavilion
I had the incredible opportunity to meet Olympic Gold-medallist Cassie Campbell-Pascall in Calgary with my son Ford. Chevrolet Canada sponsors a hockey helmet program, giving helmets to kids involved in organized hockey. We discussed signs and symptoms of concussions and also had the opportunity to join Cassie on the ice for some fun drills. (Shooting rubber chickens into the net is hugely satisfying!)
What I realized through the experience of listening to Cassie is that sport should be fun. If kids aren’t having fun, they won’t love sport. And if kids don’t feel safe while engaging in sport, they won’t have fun. Pretty simple, but I know several parents who need to realize this in order for sport to be a beautiful part of life.
As Cassie Campbell-Pascall sees it, “we need to understand our role, not just within hockey, but in minor sports in general. We need to ask our coaches “what are goals for the team for this year?” Is it about having fun? Is it about teaching our kids about respect and responsibility and hard work and teamwork and discipline and competition and all those things? Or is it about just winning? It’s really really fun to win, but do you remember how many games you won last year? Do you remember the tournaments you went to though, and the fun times you went to with your teammates? That’s what we remember.”
She talks of the experiences the team had at hotels and on trips – bonding, co-operating and growing as human beings. That’s what makes sport transformative.
I was interviewed as part of the evening and it’s obvious that these Olympians touched me deeply. Thanks, Chevrolet for putting safety and fun into sport.