(StatePoint) No matter where you choose to go on your next family road trip, traveling by car with the kids can turn travel time into quality family time.

It’s almost inevitable that on some point on your journey you will face overcrowded roads, tough driving conditions and many repetitions of “Are we there yet?”

A little preparation can make your car trip safer and more pleasurable.

• Keep your little ones protected. Seasonal road trips can be dangerous due to slippery conditions and additional motorists on the road. Many of the newest child seats rely on innovative plastic materials for safety features — three- and five-point harness systems, shock absorbing foam padding, head impact protection and fire-resistant upholstery — that help protect your children on the road.

• Fuel-up in advance on gas — a full tank helps avoid extra stops along the way. And consider installing a cell phone app that geo-locates gas stations with lower gas prices.

• Lighter vehicles often are more fuel-efficient. So if your family can fit comfortably, a smaller, lighter car could save on gas money. One reason is that today’s cars employ many design, comfort and safety features made with lightweight plastics, which helps reduce overall vehicle weight to improve fuel economy. Modern automobiles now are made of 50 percent plastics by volume, but only 10 percent by weight.

• Pack healthful road snacks. Consider foods such as cheese sticks, carrots and dried fruits. Buy in bulk and pack individual portions in convenient re-sealable plastic bags and containers. Avoid overly sugary treats that may make it harder for kids to sit still.

• Transport food safely. Bring family meals in coolers and containers so you can safely go straight from your kitchen to the car to your plate. Lightweight plastic coolers are easy to transport and help keep prepared foods cold by trapping cool air inside and keeping out warmer air. Airtight plastic containers help keep individual dishes fresh.

• Use space-saving packaging. Packing for a trip can be challenging, so consider using airtight plastic “space saver” bags that prevent wrinkles, keep your clothes fresh and save space – this could even cut down on the number of bulky suitcases that could block the driver’s visibility.

• Recycle along the way. When snacking on the road, reuse plastic grocery bags to collect your recyclable plastic bottles, containers, bags and wraps until you can drop them in a recycling bin.

For additional tips on car safety, recycling and more, visit www.plasticsmakeitpossible.com .

But above all, pack a map or bring a GPS so the kids can answer the question: “are we there yet?” Learning to read a map is a valuable life skill!



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Military Press

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