Every driver has a list of items they like to keep in their car. Whether it’s their favorite air freshener, a fluffy steering wheel cover, or a well-stocked emergency roadside assistance kit, people accessorize their car in a variety of ways.
For riders with kids, however, it’s a whole different ball game. Keeping kids happy, comfortable, and entertained on road trips of any length takes professional planning and preparation. There is no shortage of fun accessories for drivers with children. So how do you know which accessories are really necessary and which are just fluff you’ll use once and never again? We’ve put together a top list of groundbreaking car accessories for the Mini-Mes, all available with just a click of the mouse on eBay Motors.
1. Car Seat Organizer
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Yes, you are at that point. Kids need a lot of gear that needs to be handy and close at hand so you don’t have to struggle to reach under the seat while driving. Or worse, rummage around in a diaper bag or backpack for your child’s favorite book, toy, sippy cup, or snack holder. A car seat organizer can be a lifesaver, allowing you or your child to quickly and easily access everything they need without both of you throwing a tantrum.
For added versatility, car seat organizers come in a wide range of configurations. You can get one that anchors to the back of the headrest, one that hangs between the two front seats, one that sits in the center of the rear seat as a bulkhead, 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
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Whatever you think about kids watching too much TV, there’s probably not a parent out there that hasn’t resorted to the electronic babysitter to keep kids entertained and some much-needed peace and quiet on a long car ride. Gone are the days of lugging around bulky portable DVD players.
Nowadays, every parent has a “kids tablet”. Using an inexpensive and compact tablet holder on the back of your headrest or car seat can save your day watching movies, TV shows or gaming on long car journeys.
Many high-quality tablet holders are available for under $20 and easily clip between the rails of your headrest. Some are built into a back seat organizer. Others can be purchased to mount directly to your car’s center console between the two front seats. Whatever your preference, a desk mount makes in-car movie watching easier than ever.
3. Head and neck support
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Anyone who has ridden with a sleeping child has peeked in the back seat and noticed 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 is not good for posture and can lead to sore muscles and tension once the child wakes up. Bringing a supportive neck pillow can really help, but often these don’t stay in place either and just end up on your child’s lap or on the seat while they sleep.
For longer car journeys, you can purchase a seat-mounted headrest that supports your child’s head in an upright position while they sleep. Another great and space-saving option that you can easily remove and wash is the seat belt attached pillow. These compact pillows are great because they can be easily slid down and out of the way when your child is awake, so they don’t obstruct peripheral vision and allow your child to look out side windows.
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Avoid exposing your child to intense heat and direct sunlight on car journeys by adding a lightweight, affordable window shade. Even if you have tinted rear windows, they can sometimes struggle to block intense sunlight and can cause uncomfortable temperatures and overheating for children.
Blinds come in a variety of configurations, including retractable blinds that attach to your car’s windows with suction cups and can be easily moved when needed. You can also get pre-cut blinds that mount to the windows to provide full coverage and block nearly 100 percent of sunlight. There are even window curtains that clip to the edges of your car’s windows and can be opened and closed like living room or bedroom curtains.
5. Travel tray
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Bring a portable, collapsible travel tray that your child can use to play, draw or paint, watch TV, eat, or do schoolwork while you drive. These cleverly designed trays act like little tables, giving your child plenty of options for function or entertainment on long car journeys. Grab dinner on a drive-through? A travel tray gives your child a place to put groceries and minimizes the risk of it falling on the floor or spilling.
Some travel cribs have cup holders and side pockets to organize drinks and accessories that your child can easily access while driving, so you don’t have to constantly reach into the back seat 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 tablets also have a built-in tablet holder so your child can easily reach to play games or watch shows.