While we always talk about children’s dining in general, todays post is about eating in the car. I have always been one to assume that eating in the car was a no no and hence I never gave my small children particularly toddlers any drinks or food while they were in their baby car seat.
Recently I went against my own no eating in the car when my kid just would not stay calm on a road trip. I gave her water, rice crackers and puffs to get her to quieten down and of course it worked even if it was against all my assumptions of it not being safe.
While the trip had no issues , my daughter now seems to believe that it is okay to eat in the car and I regularly oblige her. Nonetheless, I could never shake the feeling that it may not be so safe having held the assumption for so long. As such I asked a well known car seat expert why it is that we cannot have the child eating while they are in the car seat.
Expert Opinion on Food While on a Car Seat
According to the CPT, what makes it so dangerous for children to eat while they are strapped onto car seats in moving cars is that, it is not so easy to get to them in they instance that they start to choke while you are driving. For this reason it is not advisable for the child to eat or have anything that may present as a choking hazard while they are strapped in a child safety seat. This can be even more difficult if you have a small car as you will find it difficult to turn around to get to the child in distress in time, which can put their life in danger.
Chocking Hazards to Avoid
Some of the choking hazards that you need to avoid include, popcorn, grapes, chewing gum, sausages, carrots and peanuts. Even foods that may not necessarily be classified as chocking hazards may be dangerous particularly for toddlers who may try to shove fistfuls of food into their mouth when you are not looking. A child between the ages of two to four can choke on almost anything and hence you need to ensure there is no food in the car at this stage of development. From age 5 the toddler possesses more of self control when eating and hence there is reduced danger of chocking while in the car seat.
How to Keep the Child Safe and Their Car Seats and Car Clean
If your child has to eat while in a car seat give them liquids as they are less likely to choke on a liquid than on solid food matter. Moreover, if the child spills the liquid, it would not make as big a mess than if they were taking solid food.
If you believe that the child may get thirsty while travelling, find a lightweight and soft preferably silicone sippy cup. Most of the time a plastic sippy cup is not advisable as it would turn into a hard projectile in the instance of a crash thus hurting the kid.
You could also use a vapur water bottle which flattens out when it is empty thus ensuring that it will not hrt the kid in the instance of a crash.
For the sake of the baby car seat and the cleanliness of your car, carry two large bibs that can be worn over the car seat cover and straps thus ensuring that the child does not leave any mess in the car or if they do, it is on the easy to clean bibs.