In 2020, you probably saw fewer cars on America’s roadways. The pandemic was the culprit. Many people were able to work from home for the first time, so rush hour was not as hectic in most major cities.

Many families were also staying off the roads because they were not taking their customary trips across the country to see their relatives. Thanksgiving, Christmas, the 4th of July, and so forth required a FaceTime interaction so that there was no coronavirus risk.

This year is different. Many of those who were working primarily from home can return to the office, and lots of those holiday trips can probably happen. That’s because many individuals have gotten one of the three vaccines that the FDA has approved, and more will get them in the weeks and months to come.

If you plan on taking a long-delayed trip with your family to see relatives this year, then you’re probably all looking forward to it eagerly. There are some particular steps that you should take, though, to make sure your kids are safe when you travel.

Here are some car trip safety tips that all parents should know.

Get an Appropriate Car Seat

You should get the right car seat for your younger kids if they are the age that requires one. If you were ever in a vehicular accident and the crash damaged your car seat, you should also get an appropriate replacement.

If you’re unsure whether your children need car seats, talk to your doctor about it. The consensus is that kids need car seats up until they are about 8-12 years old. You can also allow them to stop using a car seat if they have reached a height of 4 feet and 9 inches.

Tell Your Kids to Sit in the Back

If you go on a trip and have your spouse or partner along, you two should occupy the front seats. Your younger children should be in the vehicle’s rear seats.

The reason is that when car accidents happen, it’s usually the front two seats that sustain more of the impact than the back seats. It’s not impossible for the back seats to sustain a significant impact as well, but generally speaking, all the experts agree that your younger passengers will be safer in the back.

Stay with Your Kids at Rest Stops

You will also probably stop at some gas stations or rest areas along the way. You might be on a lonely stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere, or maybe you’ve found a busy diner with dozens of truckers and other characters around.

It’s fine to get out and stretch your legs, have a bite to eat, and gas up the car. As you do so, though, make sure that you keep an eye on your kids.

It’s unpleasant to talk about this, but child abductions do happen. They can occur anywhere and at any time.

You don’t need to go through your whole life paranoid, but you should still watch out for your kids when you’re in public, and that certainly applies when you’re on road trips. Accompany your young child to the bathroom, the gift shop, or anywhere else that they wander.

Don’t Let Your Children Talk to Strangers

You should let your kids know that they should not talk to strangers they meet. The person they stop to speak to might not necessarily want to abduct them, but they may not be too friendly either.

You never know the sort of thing that a stranger might say to a child. They may decide to scare them or say something that inadvertently upsets them.

Talk to your young children before you hit the road, and let them know they should not speak openly with the people they meet. The person they decide to talk to might be perfectly friendly, but then again, they may not be.

Tell the Kids to Continue Mask-Wearing and Social Distancing

At the moment, America is still dealing with the pandemic, just as the rest of the world is. We should gradually get it under control as the months pass, and more people get the vaccines, but for now, you don’t know who has had one and who hasn’t.

You’ll need to instruct your kids to wear their masks when they go out in public at rest stops and gas stations. For the moment, they should keep practicing social distancing as well.