Family trips and holidays

Family trips and holidays often present additional challenges, such as lack of child restraints in taxis and on coaches.

Here are our top tips:

  • Try to avoid driving entirely if you can. Children love trains and buses, and this gives you an opportunity to chat with your children and talk about the benefits of using public transport and reducing the numbers of cars on roads.
  • Child restraints are important. If you are planning to use a hire car or taxi, book ahead and order a child restraint when you book.
  • Don’t be put off by having to pay more money to rent a child restraint with a hire car; your child’s safety is priceless.
  • If you are planning on using a coach, contact the coach company in advance and ask about child restraints. Many coach companies now carry child restraints.
  • Every parent knows that children get bored and fractious on long journeys in cars. Plan family holidays that don’t involve lots of driving, either to get to your destination, or while you are on holiday.
  • As a last resort, and only for children between 125cm and 150cm, blow-up or folding booster cushions are now available and can be used, for example, on a coach for a short journey between an airport and a hotel.
Brake recommends that all children use a child seat until they are 150cm tall. This is already the law in some countries. If you're travelling abroad, always check local rules and regulations about car seats – they may be very different.

School trips and accepting lifts

Your child’s playgroup, nursery or school may invite your child to go on a school trip. When giving consent, you should consider the safety of how your child is going to travel.

Here are our top tips

  • Speak up for safety at your child’s education establishment. Find out if there is a safe and sustainable transport policy. If there isn’t, ask for one to be written.
  • If your child is being invited to travel on a coach or minibus, ask about how the transport provider has been chosen. Was safety part of that selection process?
  • If your child is under 150cm, never consent to them travelling without their child restraint, and request that you ‘fit and sit’ your child yourself in the coach or minibus. You can’t rely on anyone else knowing how to fit your child’s restraint. Different seats have different fitting systems.
  • If your child is being invited to travel in someone else’s car (for example, a friend, or another parent) then the same applies. They must use a child restraint appropriate to their size and weight.
  • Listen to your worries and speak up. Never let your child be carried in a car that you consider unsafe or that might be driven by someone you don’t trust to drive slowly and carefully. Politely say
  • If your child is regularly carried by a grandparent, consider that grandparent’s safety to drive. Eyesight, for example, deteriorates with age and significant amounts of vision can be lost without knowing it. Make sure your child’s grandparent has a vision test every year and wears glasses if they need them.