CLEVELAND – Winter driving can be unpredictable and parents, especially, should be prepared in case of emergency.
Richard So, M.D., a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, said it’s important to have a kid-friendly winter car safety kit when traveling with children.
He said the kit should include supplies to last at least two hours in case of a breakdown – including something for an infant to eat and drink.
“If you have a little baby, I always keep a cooler,” he said. “You can put water bottles and some powdered formula or just even get some pre-made formula bottles in there. Putting them in the cooler keeps the liquids from expanding and the bottles from exploding.”
Dr. So said a mother who is breastfeeding will have a natural supply of food and drink for her baby, but he advises other caregivers who may be transporting an infant to plan ahead with pre-packaged formula in case of emergency
For toddlers, he recommends filling a cooler with juice boxes, crackers, and cereal to tide them over until they get home.
Activities like coloring books and small flashlights can be kept in the kit to entertain kids until help arrives.
Dr. So said it’s also important to have blankets in the car to keep little ones warm if the car won’t start, or if the heater isn’t working.
And when it comes to keeping a baby warm, he reminds parents that puffy snow suits aren’t recommended for young children to wear while buckled into a car seat, because it compromises their safety – but keeping one in the car can come in handy if there’s a roadside emergency.
“What I do with the snow suit is, I put it in my trunk and I forget about it,” said Dr. So. “That way, if my car breaks down, I have something to keep my baby warm.”
Dr. So also recommends parents keep extra gloves and socks in their emergency car kit to keep hands and feet dry in case kids jump in puddles or grab wet snow or slush.