Driving as a parent

Being a parent can change how you think about driving, whether you’ve just become responsible for transporting your new baby safely (and dealing with the distractions a baby can cause) or your child has begun to drive. Either way, you’ll know that you now have an extra responsibility to be safe on the road.

Child car seats

The law on child car seats last changed in 2006, so if you’re a new parent you must make sure you know what sort of restraint your child should use.

The rules are designed to keep babies and children as safe as possible given their age and height. In the past, many injuries were caused by children using adult seat belts: because the children were short, the seat belts were positioned in the wrong place. Booster seats help to reduce these injuries.

Check the rules on child seats on GOV.UK.

Watch these useful child car seat videos from ROSPA to help you select a seat that matches your child’s weight and height.

Refresh your driving knowledge

You’re likely to become even more aware of safety on the road when you’ve got a baby or child in the car, so now’s a good time to refresh your knowledge and make sure you can still remember all the important things you knew as a learner.

You could also take some extra training: see our further training advice section for more information.

Safe journeys with children

Long car journeys with children can be difficult so it’s a good idea to do some planning to make them as easy as possible.

  • Plan your route to make sure you do not get lost and build in breaks for meals, visits to the toilet and fidgeting.
  • Carry some drinks and snacks in the car.
  • Find some games to play – ideally ones that involve looking out of the window, to avoid travel sickness. You could try ‘I spy’, spotting games and using registration numbers to make silly sentences.

It’s difficult for children to understand that you need to concentrate on driving so it’s all the more important that you do not allow yourself to be distracted. Keep your eyes on the road and set some ground rules before you start on a journey such as

  • No shouting, screaming or fighting while the engine is on.
  • No talking to the driver if he or she says ‘Not right now’.
  • When the driver speaks, everyone in the car must listen.

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