5 things you need on a road trip with kids including Britax Car Seats

We are headed out for our first road trip of the summer. The whole family is headed down for NW Biggest Baby Shower in Portland. We’re going to check out the event for the blog, and get some family time in.

We leave this afternoon and I’m realizing I better make a checklist for our drive, which is just under 4 hours, as long as we miss traffic. Big thanks to Britax who generously sent us their new Pavillion UltimateComfort seat for Edison. It’s our first official road trip with it, and I’m excited to see how it fares.

5 things you need on a road trip with kids

5 things you need on a road trip with kids

1.) Snacks

Snacks for you, snacks for the kids. Let’s be honest, stopping at convenience stores for snacks is expensive. Even fast food can add up quick when you’re buying food for a family of five.  I make sure I grab some GoGo squeeZ pouches, everyone’s water bottles.

2.) Entertainment

Charge the electronic tablets, handheld games, portable DVD players, whatever it takes. Do not, I repeat do not forget batteries or charger cords. Trust me on these. Forget the cords and you are SOL. You do not want to be SOL on a longish road trip.

3.) Change of clothes

I’m not talking about what’s in your luggage. I’m talking about extra pants for the under 4 feet crowd. Sometimes you don’t make it to the potty or stop in time to use the portable potty in the back seat (oh yeah we do that too) and it’s nice to prevent a melt down with a fresh pair of leggings or athletic pants. On that note don’t forget wipes, extra diapers and hand sanitizer.

4.) Comfort Items

Bring blankets, lovies and whatnot that your kids depend on at home. Not only will they help them be cozy in the car but at your destination too. While we are talking about blankets, pillows etc, remember not to put anything between seat belts or car seat straps! This could potentially keep them from working properly.

5.) Car Seats

I’m going to step on my soap box here about car seats. I do not care that people of mine and earlier generations “turned out fine” I do not care that your 6 year old friends don’t think it’s cool to ride in a 5 point harness, I don’t care that you think it’s a hassle. I don’t care about your excuse to not use a car seat that is appropriate for your child. If they are under the age of 8 and 4’9, they better be in an appropriate car seat. This is the law in most states.

Ok, now that I have that off my chest, let’s get to the knitty gritty. My two school kids (almost 4 and 6) are in Britax Frontiers. Both are still in a 5 point harness and will be until they outgrow the limits of them. I’m not budging on that. My 6 year old is not allowed to go on a school field trip without a 5 point harness and his school knows this.

Edison, my 14 month old just “graduated” from his Chaperone to the Pavillion. Which is still rear-facing. He will be rear facing to the limits of the seat too, based on both his seated and shoulder height. Right now Edison is 22 pounds and 32 inches tall. Edison isn’t just in ANY Pavillion, he’s in the Pavillion from Britax’s new UltimateComfort series available exclusively at Toys R Us.

Rear facing in Britax

We’ve been through a lot of Britax seats in our house, and the UltimateComfort is pure luxury for Edison.

In addition to some of my favorite features of Britax Car Seats: side impact protection, ease of install, the click tight harness and hugs, there are additional features on these seats that are pretty fantastic. The UltimateComfort series is available in a variety of styles, including convertible and booster style car seats.

Product Highlights

  • Head safety technology, including SafeCell technology in the base, integrated steel bars, energy-absorbing Versa-Tether and HUGS chest pads, reduces forward head movement and the risk of injury
  • True Side Impact Protection offers a head restraint, creating an extra layer of energy-absorbing EPP foam and keeping the head, neck and spine “in true” or aligned, and deep sidewalls lined with EPP foam to distribute crash forces, shield from vehicle intrusion and contain the head, neck and body
  • Quick-adjust harness repositions the harness shoulder height, without disassembling the harness straps
  • HUGS (Harness Ultra Guard System) with SafeCell technology manages crash energy and forward head movement while keeping the chest clip properly positioned
  • Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator is an audible aid that provides extra assurance when the harness is within range of appropriate snugness
  • Tangle-free five-point harness distributes crash forces across the strongest parts of the body and provides a secure fit
  • 65-pound weight capacity for safety and comfort as your child grows
  • Rear- and forward-facing recline for child comfort and positioning
  • High-density comfort foam provides an extra layer of padding to gently cushion your child
  • Easy-remove cover allows easy cleaning, without disassembling the harness or uninstalling the car seat
  • Two buckle positions for your growing child
  • EZ-Buckle system and harness holders keep harness straps out of the way when placing your child in the car seat
  • Premium lower LATCH connectors for a quick and simple installation, featuring a push button for easy release
  • Built-in lock-offs ensure a snug lap and shoulder belt installation with minimal effort
  • Antislip, contoured base grips and protects the vehicle seat while offering an optimal vehicle fit
  • Infant positioning pillow offers extra comfort while achieving a proper harness fit for small infants
  • Certified for aircraft travel
  • Recommended use:
  • Rear facing: 5 – 40 lbs.; 9″ – 16.75″ seated shoulder height; 49″ or less standing height
  • Forward facing: 20 – 65 lbs.; 12″ – 16.75″ seated shoulder height; 49″ or less standing height

Britax Pavillion Features

Like all Britax seats, they are a bit of a beast. Your installation experience might be different than mine. Make sure you read both the seat manual AND your owners manual of your car for installation information. You will find different information on weight limits for LATCH as well as whether or not your car allows tethering while rear facing. If you can’t find the information in your owner’s manual, call them and ASK!

What I can tell you about the install – we have three seats across in the 2nd row of our 2014 Honda Odyssey. It goes Frontier, Pavillion RF, Frontier. It’s a tight fit. When it’s time to move the Pavillion to FF, we’re going to have to move one of the seats to the 3rd row because it’s just not going to happen.

Hands down my favorite features of the Pavillion are the harness. First, there’s the feature I’ve loved since we bought our Boulevard in 2009 – the Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator so I know my straps are tight. Then there is the new tangle free harness adjuster. ONE HAND. Oh my word. No more uninstalling the seat to fix the harness. Now, yes, you SHOULD periodically check your seat, but I am so in love with this feature. It’s ammmmaaazing.

Wish us luck that Edison is in UltimateComfort this weekend! Stay tuned to Social Media for pictures of his comfy cuteness.

Side note: I took a zillion photos of the new UltimateComfort Pavillion and promptly misplaced my memory card. UGH! So I need to uninstall and reshoot some of the features (like the comfort foam) or find my memory card! Make sure you come back to see the new photos – I’ll be sure to let you know on Facebook and Twitter when I’ve updated. OY!

About Kerri Jablonski

Kerri Jablonski AKA The Maven lives in Seattle,WA with her 3 kids (2008, 2010, 2013), husband, cats and backyard chickens. Two of her children have special needs. Kerri enjoys cooking, travel, movies and spending time with her family.


  1. Evelyn Kelly says:

    All tips are amazing but I liked the #5 tip most helpful not for me but for everyone. For any family children are most important, they do everything to protect them. When going for a trip, car seat is the only that protect children in any accident. I am glad that I came to such informative blog. Thank you so much for sharing such helpful suggestions.

  2. Maria Waley says:

    Car safety is extremely important when traveling with kids.I really enjoyed reading this post and would share this post with my cousin as she is going for mini road trip.I am sure this post will her lot in planning her trip with small kids.

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