6 simple ways to toddler-proof your car

Image: Scholastic

With toddlers around, your car is guaranteed to become full of crumbs…even if you don’t remember handing them a biscuit. It’s just the way it goes. They love climbing on the seats, dropping things, spilling stuff, vomiting and generally causing chaos. Here’s a few simple ways you can lessen the mess.

1. Lock it up

Kids will fiddle with anything they can get their hands on. That’s a given. When you combine this natural tendency to fiddle with the fact that mum or dad is behind the wheel and not able to keep a close eye, you could be in trouble! Activate your kiddy-locks ASAP, because it will prevent your little one from being able to open the door mid-trip. I’d also suggest locking the windows if your car has that option, because once they’ve figured this “game” out there is no end to it!

2. Clear away choking hazards

My 3-year-old has started bringing “treasures” from home on car trips, and it’s recently dawned on me that I need to keep a close eye on what she’s brought with her. It’s impossible to keep an eye on kids the entire time you’re driving, and little items could cause a choking hazard if a bored toddler decides to slip it into their mouth. This goes for snacks as well – always cut your grapes in half (long ways) and make sure they’ve got a bottle of water handy.

My girl making herself at home in the car
My girl making herself at home in the car

3. Keep a towel handy

If you’re heading on a long car trip, keep an old towel in the boot in case of motion sickness. You could even go one step further and line the carseat before heading off, just in case. It’s easy to get the smell of vomit out of clothes (or bin them!) but the lining of the carseat is slightly trickier (and more expensive!).

Likewise, a packet of Wet Wipes in the glovebox is an absolute essential for any car containing young children. Snacks are often unavoidable, but at least you can give the car surfaces, fingers, mouths and clothing a quick wipe before you exit the vehicle.

4. Line your cup holders

This one might seem a bit OTT, but trust me. Your cup holders will fill up with crumbs even if you can’t remember putting a biscuit in there! It’s just a fact of life. When toddlers start bringing along their “treasures” you’ll find all sorts of confiscated bits and bobs in the car holder – coins, hair clips, dirty tissues and more. Grab a couple of silicone cupcake holders next time you are grocery shopping, and plop them into the cup holders so you can empty out the grot every now and again.

Image: Inspiring Women
Image: Inspiring Women

5. Bin it

If you don’t have some sort of bin bag in your car, you are going to love this one. It’s so simple, yet so effective in keeping a tidy car. It’s as simple as grabbing a plastic bag or small container with a lid and keeping it on the floor of the back seat. Every time you hop out of the car, get the kids to pop their snack wrappers, tissues and other trash inside. It will stop the spread of rubbish that seems to become inevitable with small children around!

6. Invest in a shoe-holder (yes, really!)

These cheap little items are found in most $2 shops, and they can be a real lifesaver on long car trips. Hang the hook on the back of your front seats, and fill each pocket with a few activities for the kids. It’s also a great place to store water bottles, sunscreen and other necessities. Pop some snacks in there, a few books, pencils and colouring books and you’ve got yourself a built-in entertainment system that doesn’t involve them staring at a screen!

Feature image: Scholastic

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