5 Tips for Driving Safely with Restless Toddlers

Driving with Children in the car

If you have kids, you’ve likely experienced how difficult it can be to keep your child entertained on long drives. Restless toddlers can be distractions to the parent that is driving and this can place you at risk of being in a car accident. Although it may seem like a monumental challenge, it is possible to keep a restless toddler calm and safe during road trips. Here are some helpful insights to help you drive safely with toddlers.

1) Ensure a car seat is installed

While driving, irrespective of the distance to be covered, the safety of your child comes first. Some toddlers can be so restless to the point of almost struggling out of their car seat. Keep this in mind as you are buckling in your child. Make sure their straps are well fastened – not too tightly – so you can be sure to arrive safely at your destination even with a wiggly toddler.

2) Bring a companion

If you are a single mom who believes “I can do all things,” you must still employ caution when planning for a long trip with an active child. It is almost impossible to calm your child and still be able to concentrate while driving. Consider having a companion to sit by them while you are driving. This can be one of your older children, a family member, or depending on the length of the journey, you may want to consider hiring a nanny that can travel with you.

3) Get your child engaged

Children can easily be distracted by their favorite activities. Consider giving them coloring books, toys, playing a movie on a vehicle TV screen, or invest in a tablet that is suitable for their age. Tablets come in many price points and for many different ages. You can pre-program games and other activities that will keep your child busy. It is also a good idea to stop intermittently to reassure your child and give them a new toy after a while so that they are entertained throughout the trip.

4) Harness the power of music

Parents are often advised to be consistent in whatever they do because it goes a long way in determining how their children react to situations. Singing your child to sleep or playing particular music during their bedtime signals to your child that “it’s time to sleep”. This concept is the same when riding in a vehicle. You can play songs that they can learn to recognize and associate with a positive riding experience.

5) Stock up with snacks

Children find it nearly impossible to sit quietly for long periods of time like adults. Another way to keep them busy is with their favorite snacks . Try healthy alternatives without too much sugar – the last thing you need is your child having a sugar rush midway through the journey.


Having a quiet and smooth ride is possible even with a toddler in the vehicle! The key is making them comfortable and keeping them entertained so that they are able to establish positive associations to riding in the car. Before you know it, your child will be positively conditioned to behave calmly while you are driving.

If you have teens who drive, check out our post about helping them drive safely in the snow.

How do you keep your toddler calm while you’re driving? Please leave helpful comments below!

Author Bio: Amy Patterson is a regular contributor from North Carolina who writes about child safety. 

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