As much of the United States saw piles and piles of fluffy white snow this weekend, they also bore witness to the heightened level of danger that came with it. Snow is one of the best and prettiest things about the holiday season — but snow isn't the kindest to cars and the millions of travelers who make their way around the country visiting friends and families during the days leading up to and following the holidays. Travel is often unavoidable in the snowiest parts of the United States, but luckily there are tips on how to keep your kids safe in icy travel conditions during the holidays this year — despite all the awful stories you're seeing in the news.
The winter weather has already caused dangerous conditions on the roadways. According to CNN, icy road conditions this weekend caused multiple fatalities in Maryland, Virginia, and Oklahoma. Car accidents and pile ups caused by these dangerous, icy, roadways were abundant — and according to CNN, people can expect to see temperatures dropping again this week, just in time for Christmas. For those who have to travel "over the river and through the woods" to grandmother's house, especially in a car with kids, this can be a little terrifying and daunting. But there are a few simple ways to keep your kids safe in icy travel conditions in order to make it to grandmother's house safely.
When traveling in icy conditions with kids, especially young ones, it is important that your normal car safety is up to speed. Before heading out on the road, make sure that carseats are installed properly and that every adult is wearing a seatbelt. That way, in case an accident were to occur, everyone in the car is protected as best as they can be. Preparing for the worst can sometimes help parents in the long run — Kids Health advises parents to put a first aid kit, extra blankets, and gloves in the car. This ensures that kids will stay warm while waiting for help, and parents can tend to superficial injuries if they do occur. Bringing along water and a small, filling snack won't hurt either — keeping kids hydrated during the winter is important, especially if an emergency occurs.
But don't dress your small children in snow suits for those long distance drives. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should wear thin, snug layers, rather than thicker coats and materials that could make it hard for them to move around in. Thicker materials cause car seat straps to not fit properly, therefore not work properly. Before finally hitting the road, drivers should also check the car's tail pipe and clear it of any snow — a clogged tail pipe increases the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Once on the road, drivers can practice basic winter driving tips to ensure the safety of their children. AAA advises parents to drive slowly — even if drivers are rushing to make it to their destination before the conditions worsen. It takes longer for cars to slow down on icy roads and driving slowly can prepare drivers for any dangers on the road that may present themselves. Drivers should also distance themselves from other cars on the road, allowing a larger margin of safety. AAA advises winter weather drivers to avoid stopping on highways or while going up hills — cars should be moving on winter roadways, slowly, to maintain inertia. Most importantly, bringing along an iPad, electronics, or activity book for long drives can keep children occupied and keep parents from being distracted, allowing them to put all of their focus on the road, and less focus on the sing along happening in the back seat.
As winter weather conditions worsen and holiday travel begins, drivers should make sure to be extra cautious on roads for the safety of their family and the safety of others traveling with little ones this season.