Javier Rodríguez, an engineer at the SEAT Technical Centre, warns that 63% of child passengers are at risk in cars and the biggest mistake is the improper use of child seats: "The probability of suffering serious injuries or even death increases four times in the event of an accident due to the incorrect use of child seats".
According to Rodríguez, basic safety precautions include correctly connecting the Isofix system to the car's anchoring points, making sure the seatbelt fits snugly against the body and disabling the airbag if the child seat is installed in the front passenger seat.
When travelling with small children it is very important to plan the trip ahead of time and stop every 200 kilometres or every two hours to rest. Unlike travelling with adults, it is better to make rest stops with children in places where there are play areas or green spaces where they can stretch their legs and release their pent up energy.
Climate control inside the car is another important consideration. Despite the heat, Rodríguez stresses that "the recommended air conditioning temperature is a comfortable 22 degrees – that way children don't get cold and fuel consumption does not take too big of a hit". He adds that one of the main causes of road accidents are distractions, and these tend to increase when travelling with children. It is a good idea for an adult passenger to look after the children, and if the driver is the only adult in the car, children should have toys and games to keep them busy, as well and food and drinks within reach.
Trips with children can be made much more pleasant by organising games, telling stories or having colouring books on hand. Although it will probably be impossible to escape the inevitable question "are we there yet?", most people will surely hear it much less often.