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Navigating Los Angeles traffic with kids? Tips to keep you and your family safe.

If you have children, you know that they can be a major distraction while driving.  They run out of snack, start fighting, ask for their favorite CD, or want the toy that they dropped – all while you need to keep eyes and attention on the road.   A mother’s instinct is to fill her children’s needs first, but this can be dangerous when mom is driving.  Distractions cause car accidents!
 
Advance preparation and a few emergency tricks can keep everyone happy in the car. The Los Angeles area personal injury attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie have compiled some tips to help you out. We hope these will make your drive less stressful and help keep your family safe.
 
Prepare a small backpack or bag for each child before the trip. The bag should have an assortment of soft toys, a snack (Gerber puffs or another snack with low choking risk is best) in a spill proof snack cup, and a soft-cover book.  Fabric books are great for babies and toddlers. 
 
Avoid hard toys and books in the car. These can become missiles if the car stops suddenly and may cause serious injury. Some suggestions for small soft toys include finger puppets, stuffed animals, and Waldorf-style or rag dolls. Make sure they are age appropriate, you don’t want to have to worry about your child choking while you are driving.
 
Play children’s music. Let them choose the music before you start the car.
 
On cold days, warm up the car ahead of time. This helps avoid “I’m too hot” complaints from bundled up children.
 
Always make sure your child is properly buckled in an appropriate safety seat.  
 
In an emergency, try some in-car games.  Here are a few suggestions
  1. I Spy – This is an old favorite. You say “I spy with my little eye…” and describe something. You can say “something red” or “something that starts with B” or “something in the sky”. Just make sure it is something that there is plenty of – clouds, trees, grass in case it takes your child a while to guess. If your child is talking, you can focus on driving.
  2.  Make up a story together. “Once upon a time there was a big.... your turn.” Children love this game and it develops their pre-reading and early reading skills.
  3. A twist on this game is “I’m driving in my car.” You start out “I’m driving in my car. I’m going very far. I’m driving in my car. Uh oh… an elephant is in my car! What do I do now?” Let your children give you advice.  “The elephant wants a sandwich, can you make one?” Your child has to make the elephant a sandwich. What kind of sandwich? The elephant can make all sorts of demands,  just make sure the elephant is buckled up in his seat belt. When the elephant is happy, start again. Pigs, sheep, lions, gorillas, t-rex… they all ride in the car and make crazy requests. Use your imagination. Your children will love it and you can keep your eyes on the road.
 
If all else fails, pull over and attend to your child’s needs. You may be late, but late is better than never arriving.
 
The Orange County car wreck attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie care about families and hate to see the devastation that an accident can cause. If your family has been involved in a serious accident, we’d like to help you get accountability for this tragedy. Contact us anytime to set up a free consultation. 

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