Holiday road trips drive parents to distraction, drugs

The Christie family knows how to keep their kids occupied during car holidays.
The Christie family knows how to keep their kids occupied during car holidays. Ebony Battersby

SIZE matters when it comes to backseat drivers, with the smallest passengers a leading cause of road accidents.

New research by Newspoll shows loud and restless children are driving two out of five parents behind the wheel to distraction.

The Christie Family are experienced travellers.

They are holidaying in the Gladstone area, from the Gold Coast, and say technology is a blessing on long car trips.

"You don't bring out the good stuff until later in the trip," said Dad, Justin Christie.

"We have iPads and DVD players, there is a lot of technology," said Jennifer Christie.

"But we also go back to the good old days and play I Spy and we have colouring-in books too."

Unfortunately, all that extra traffic on the roads during school holidays, frequently means an increase in road toll statistics.

Suncorp Insurance research shows as many as 7% of parents will resort to extreme measures to settle children on long car trips.

Phenergan, which is sold over the counter at pharmacies, is commonly being bought by parents to encourage rest and to avoid fighting and bickering in the backseat.

Phenergan is an older brand of anti-histamine, says local pharmacist Michael Ngo.

"It is also commonly used to relieve symptoms of nausea during car travel," he said.

"When it used correctly, there should not be long term side effects unless the child is allergic, but I would suggest other alternatives before resorting to Phenergan," Mr Ngo said.

Suncorp Insurance spokesperson, Melissa Cronin, said there were a number of safer alternatives to combat the distraction of unruly children.

"Having a plan in place to keep the kids entertained is a great way to ensure that you not only arrive at your destination safely but also start your holiday off on the right foot," Ms Cronin said.

Keeping children content

TO keep kids entertained during lengthy road trips, follow these helpful tips:

  • Plan your trip well in advance to ensure organisation in regard to in-car entertainment.
  • Take regular breaks every two hours to refresh both the passengers and the driver. All travellers will be grateful for the chance to stretch their legs.
  • Try traditional car games such as I Spy, 20 questions and trivia questions.These interactive games will keep passengers occupied and the driver alert.
  • Make sure you have plenty of games, music, toys and snacks on hand to keep everyone onboard occupied and content.
  • Keep your children involved - make them aware of the distance that needs to be covered during the journey.
  • Ensure your planned entertainment is spread out over the journey.
  • Make the car trip fun: when planning your journey remember to stop at highlights along the way.

Topics:  gladstone road safety school holidays travelling

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