Top tips for parents to cope when the car breaks down

Having your car break down on the side of the road is irritating and inconvenient at the best of times, but when you have children in the car, it can be a nightmare. To help your family cope with an emergency car breakdown, check out these top tips.

Have an emergency supplies kit on hand

Every car should be equipped with a well-stocked emergency kit, whether there are children in the car or not. What you include in your emergency car kit will vary depending on your family's needs, vehicle, location and weather; however, there are a few basics that should be in your vehicle at all times:

  • First aid kit, equipped with children's paracetamol and any vital medications for your kids and yourself.
  • The owner's manual for your vehicle, as it will show you how to change the tyre and give you plenty of helpful information in a breakdown situation.
  • A torch and a warning light or hazard triangle.
  • Jumper cables, a basic tool kit and a tow rope to help you get out of dangerous conditions.
  • Duct tape, to solve a range of potential problems, from burst hoses to a broken tail light.
  • Water and some long-life, easy to eat, child-friendly food. Think muesli bars, crackers and tinned meals.
  • Wipes and hand sanitiser, because they are every parent's best friend.

Also consider including an activity for younger kids, such as a small craft kit or drawing supplies. For older kids, keep a paperback novel they haven't read to keep them entertained and distracted in the case of a breakdown. Rotate anything with an expiry date regularly, such as perishable foods and medications, and as the needs of your family change, you should update your emergency kit accordingly.

Never leave home without the kids' essentials

If you don't do a lot of long-distance driving, it's easy to become complacent about taking the kids' necessities in the car wherever you go. Being self-sufficient and prepared, however, is a good habit to get into, and in the event of an emergency breakdown you will be eternally glad for your forethought. It's highly recommended that you never leave home without a change of clothes for each child, enough food and water for at least one meal, and even a travel potty for young children who are recently toilet trained. As the weather cools down, keeping a throw blanket in the car can help keep your kids comfortable if you're stranded on the side of the road without the car heater for a while.

Call emergency roadside assistance

If you are not a member of the emergency roadside assistance provider in your state, it is highly advisable for peace of mind and support for your family in a breakdown situation. Alternatively, you can call emergency roadside assistance as a non-member in need; however, you will be required to become a member in order for them to provide emergency assistance. An invaluable service that can get you out of a difficult situation and get your children back to safety and comfort, do not hesitate to call emergency roadside assistance when you need it. You can also keep the number of an auto shop like All Care Car Services handy to call a tow truck or have a mechanic come to you.

Don't panic

The best advice for parents in an emergency car breakdown situation is to resist the urge to freak out. Children vibe off their parents, particularly at challenging and confusing times, so it is important that you remain as calm and collected as possible to help dispel any fears your children may have. Take this opportunity to demonstrate to your children what to do in an emergency situation, and how a little preparation can save the day.