Every driver has a list of items they like to keep in their car. Whether it’s their favorite air freshener, fuzzy steering wheel cover, or a well-equipped emergency roadside assistance kit, people accessorize their cars in a wide variety of ways.
For drivers with kids, however, it’s a totally different ball game. Keeping kids happy, comfortable, and entertained on road trips of any length takes pro-level planning and preparation. There is no shortage of fun accessories for drivers with kids. So, how do you know which accessories are actually necessary and which are just fluff that you’ll use once and never again? We’ve come up with a top list of game-changing car accessories for the mini-me’s, all of which are available at eBay Motors with just a mouse click.
Yep, you’re at that point. Kids require a lot of gear that needs to be kept handy and at the ready so that you’re not trying to urgently reach under the seat while driving. Or worse, search through a diaper bag or backpack looking for your child’s favorite book, toy, sippy cup, or snack holder. A car seat organizer can be a lifesaver that allows you or your child to quickly and easily access whatever they may need without both of you melting down into a temper tantrum.
For added versatility, car seat organizers come in a wide selection of set-ups. You can get one that anchors to the back of the headrest, one that suspends between the two front seats, one that sits in the middle of the backseat as a divider, and more. It’s really just a matter of personal preference and whether you need to be able to reach the items in the organizer or if your child can do it themselves.
2. Tablet Holder or Mount
Whatever your thoughts are on kids watching too much television, there’s probably not a parent out there that hasn’t resorted to using the electronic babysitter to entertain kids and get some much needed peace and quiet on a long road trip. Gone are the days when we used to lug around bulky portable DVD players.
These days every parent has a “kid’s tablet.” Using an inexpensive and compact tablet holder on the back of your headrest or car seat can save the day by way of movies, television shows, or games on longer road trips.
Many good quality tablet holders can be had for under $20 and can easily affix between the rails of your headrest. Some come built into a backseat organizer. Others can be bought to mount directly on the center console of your car between the two front seats. Whatever your preference, a table holder makes in-car movie watching easier than ever.
3. Head and Neck Support
Anyone who’s driven with a sleeping child has peered in the backseat and noted with dismay the unhealthy angle of their child’s head. Having a child sleep with their head on their chest or at a sharp angle isn’t great for posture and can lead to sore muscles and tension once the child wakes up. Bringing along a supportive neck pillow can really help, but often, those don’t stay in place either, and just end up in your child’s lap or on the seat while they sleep.
For longer car rides, you can get a seat-mounted headrest that’s designed to support your child’s head in an upright position during sleep. Another great, and more space-saving option that you can easily remove and wash is the seat belt mounted pillow. These compact cushions are excellent because they can easily be moved down and out of the way when your child is awake so that they don’t obstruct peripheral vision and let your child look out the side windows.
Let your child avoid exposure to high heat and direct sunlight on car trips with the addition of a lightweight, affordable window shade. Even if you have tinted rear windows, they can sometimes struggle to block out intense sunlight and can make for uncomfortable temperatures and lead to overheated children.
Window shades come in a variety of set-ups, including retractable shades that mount with suction cups to your car’s windows and can be easily moved around as needed. You can also get precut window shades that mount to the windows to provide complete coverage and block out almost 100 percent of sunlight. There are even window curtains that affix to the edges of your car’s windows and can be opened and closed like living room or bedroom curtains.
5. Travel Tray
Bring along a portable, collapsible travel tray that your child can use to play games, draw or color, watch tv, eat, or do school work on while driving. These cleverly designed trays act like small tables that give your child plenty of options for function or entertainment on long car trips. Grabbing dinner at a drive-through? A travel tray gives your child a place to set food and minimize the risk of spilling or dropping it all over the floor.
Some travel trays include cup holders and side pockets to organize drinks and accessories that your child can easily access during the drive, minimizing your need to be constantly reaching into the backseat to hand them items or pick things up off the floor. Some trays also have handy bumpers or lips that prevent items from sliding off. Other trays also have a mount for a tablet built in so that your child can easily reach to play games or watch shows.