Road trip 101: 5 must-have items when traveling with toddlers

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(BPT) - Any parent who’s spent time on the road with young kids understands the challenges involved. After all, toddlers aren’t known for their patience, emotional stability or ability to deal with the changes in routine that can occur on long car rides. According to a recent study from kids’ beverage brand good2grow, 92% of parents have experienced toddler “meltdowns” during a road trip.

“Children are magical on road trips,” jokes parent of two Anna Lee Beyer in the New York Times. “They have the power to alter space and time, transforming a predictable 12-hour drive into a 16-hour mystery tour.”

That said, time spent in the car with your toddler can be smooth — and even delightful — if you plan ahead by packing effective products aimed at keeping them safe, comfortable and entertained. With that in mind, here are five key items to bring along the next time you’re packing up the vehicle for your next family adventure, big or small.

Delight them with a beverage that combines fun and nutrition. good2grow offers a great selection of juices topped with a spill-proof spout from some of the top characters in kids entertainment. Kids love to pick from the selection of 100s of their favorite characters, and parents love the spill-proof tops that minimize mess. Keep everyone hydrated and smiling by packing a cooler-full on every trip or look for the brand at your local grocery or convenience store.

Start with the right car seat. Your toddler will be safest (and most comfortable) in a forward-facing seat engineered to their age and weight, such as the KidsEmbrace Harnessed Booster Car Seat. This seat is suitable for children 22 to 65 pounds when used with the five-point harness and can be used up to 100 pounds and 29 to 49 inches in height when converted to a belt-positioning booster (once your child is big enough). Easy to install with or without a latch and top tether, it meets all federal safety standards. And your toddler will love the range of fun, colorful designs featuring their favorite characters.

Be ready to snack on the go, anytime. Rest easy knowing your vehicle is well-stocked with the “pawfect” toddler snack, a selection of the Paw Patrol Pouches that come in four tasty flavors to impress even the pickiest kid. Packed with 100% USDA Certified Organic fruit, they’re individually packaged in 3.5-ounce portions so they’re easy to stash in backpacks, purses or pockets whenever you need to stave off a hunger-induced meltdown.

Don’t forget the eye protection. Doctors note that kids 10 and younger are at extra risk for sustaining harmful UV damage to their eyes. That’s why it’s important to outfit them with sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection whenever they’re exposed to the sun. Luckily, Sunstaches offers a highly effective line of eyewear that kids can’t wait to wear, since they come in a huge variety of designs inspired by licensed characters — Disney, Marvel, DC Comics, Nickelodeon, Universal, Pokémon and more. Parents may want to pick up a matching pair themselves.

Come prepared with distractions. You may be an advocate for screen time, or you may prefer to limit your toddler's play to more traditional toys and books. Either way, you’ll thank yourself if you pack a bag of goodies that can help keep them entertained when their mood shifts or the ride just gets long and boring. Perhaps you could save electronics gadgets and/or special shows and movies as special treats to be enjoyed only on long and/or challenging car trips.

Your next road trip with your toddler doesn't have to be a challenge, and by anticipating some of their most important needs you may even find it a time for bonding. Here’s to your next adventure together.

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