Parents of young kids know all too well that seats are among the most important things in a car. Kids, especially girls, love to move things around, jump up and down, and make their little chairs into something they love. So it should come as no surprise that seats are among the most often replaced parts in a family car.

But you may not have kids. Maybe you have older kids in the family who aren’t very fastidious about their stuff. If this is the case, then the seats you’re getting for them might not be doing their fair share of traveling. The seat could be built cheaply but the materials used to construct it (such as vinyl) aren’t durable enough to withstand daily wear and tear.

Don’t fret. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on your middle seat dreams. You just need to look harder. Keep these tips in mind as you shop. They’ll help you avoid the most common seating problems, which will increase the safety of your passengers.

Ok, first up, look for safety straps for the seats. Not all models are as safe as the next. Some offer belts only; others offer seat-belts that have to be installed by the dealership. A belt-only seat leaves little or no room for your kids’ legs to feel the floor. This can lead to them injuring themselves.

And don’t forget to get car locks for the back seat. This is important even if you have kids. Sometimes you lock your kids in the backseat when they’re asleep. Other times, they sleep in the front. Either way, you should get a vehicle lock that protects both children from the back and the front seat.

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Don’t forget to get a rear-facing child seat. This is a must if your family has an infant or older child who weighs more than 40 pounds. Studies show that babies who are rear-facing developing less motor skills and spend more time in the hospital. A rear-facing seat lets you keep your baby close to you at all times, even if it’s just for the morning hours.

Next, you need to set up a play area for your kids. No matter how often you tell them not to play in their rooms, they still end up playing there during the day. But make sure there is a safe play area where they can climb and fall and run. If not, they’ll wind up hurt or having an accident in their rooms. A play room for a middle seat is a must.

Finally, don’t forget about the food. Most families eat breakfast together as a family. But breakfast isn’t always convenient. If you don’t have a ready-to-eat meal with you, make sure you bring your own to share. A healthy family meal is the key to making sure your kids are happy and healthy throughout the day.

If you don’t have time to prepare a full meal, consider making healthy snacks for you and your family. There are plenty of healthy snack ideas for a middle seat. You can make fruit like tortilla chips, or fresh fruit like strawberries and oranges. These snacks can fill you up when you don’t have some sort of meal. You can even make trail mix for sandwiches!

Don’t forget snacks for your kids. Just like their food, snacks need to be healthy and nutritious. Fresh fruit like strawberries and apples are a good option. You can also get a handful of trail mix or granola bars and load them up with fiber. Trail mix has the same amount of calories and protein as an egg, and granola bars are high in fiber to help you get your kids to eat healthy snacks.

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Don’t forget drinks! You will need plenty of cold water to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. You may want to bring along a sports drink to give you a boost during the breaks. As long as you stay hydrated you’ll be fine.

Don’t forget games! You and your kids can always find a game that both of you love to play. Keep your kids entertained while you get some much needed well-deserved rest. Playing a board game is an ideal idea for an OK middle seat.

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