The cost of keeping kids quiet in the car soars
Cries of 'are we nearly there yet' fill many parents with dread - but not as much as this piece of news will: According to new research, keeping tech-hungry kids entertained in the car can cost as much as £900!
A study by High Street giant Halfords - which does, after all, have a pretty good knowledge of these things - has delved into the cost of kitting out your car with entertainment goodies.
And the accessories retailer says the rising price points to the changing needs of children who were once satisfied with a simple game of I-spy or Travel Scrabble.
'Parents remember how they were simply belted up and given a book to read or colouring pencils, but not any more,' said a spokeswoman for Halfords. 'Child travel now requires a great deal of planning and patience to ensure a stress-free journey.'
Popular kit includes a twin-screen DVD system (from £290), separate headphones (£29.99), powered cool box for drinks and snacks (£79.99) and extra 12v sockets to power all the goodies (£20).
Blinds, cushions, seatbelt adjusters and pads, storage and the dreaded 'Baby On Board' sign all add to the rising total.
'It does seem that in-car technology is proving the answer to the back seat squabble,' added the spokeswoman. 'At the same time kids are demanding more and more sophisticated equipment before they will even contemplate getting in the car.'
Channel 4's 'Supernanny' Jo Frost doesn't think technology is needed though. She's come up with a far simpler - and cheaper - way to keep children well behaved in the car. It's a points system that awards children for every trouble-free trip they make.
She said: 'Points add up to rewards. However, make sure they need a reasonable amount of points - 25 upwards - to be rewarded.'
Following the advice we gave on keeping children entertained on the move back in August (Keep the kids happy on the road), we've taken a look here at some low tech (cheap) and high tech (pricey) options for those parents that don't mind shelling out for the quiet life:
High tech: NextBase Click 7-inch DVD Player Duo
This double screen DVD player attaches to your rear headrests and plays your little one's favourite Disney movie on the go. It might cost a few bob, but the peace and quiet you'll get will be worth every penny.
Low tech: 'Are We Nearly There Yet' Back Seat Organiser
This hooks over the rear of the seat in front of your loved one and you fill it with toys from home. There's place for colouring pens too and pockets you'll be forever finding half-eaten Quavers in.
High tech: Nintendo DS£129.99, Argos.com
There's nothing like a bit of gaming to wile away the hours - especially when you're eight years old. Just remember if you forget the in-car charger you'll need to prepare for Armageddon.
Low tech: Travel Snakes and Ladders£2.64, Amazon.co.uk
Snakes and ladders is a classic game for a reason. It's fun whatever your age. Well, ok, maybe not for teenagers, but still it'll keep a pair of five-year-olds amused for less than the price of Happy Meal!
Got any tips for keeping kids quiet in the car that won't cost a fortune? Let us know by posting them below.