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Melissa Joan Hart Shares Road Trip Must-Haves And How to Find the Best Car for Your Family
Melissa Joan Hart is a veteran actress and mom, but she will actually be playing a parent for the first time on her upcoming Netflix show, No Good Nick, opposite Lord of the Rings actor Sean Astin. While she's tackled hard roles in the past (like playing a certain teenage witch), she knows firsthand just how hard picking the best car and road trip accessories for your family can be. With so many features to consider and, of course, safety being of the utmost importance, finding a reliable resource to help you on your car buying journey can really help you make this important decision. Whether you are upgrading from a smaller car or buying a car for the first time, looking to resources like Kelley Blue Book (KBB) can really help families make informed choices about which car to buy. KBB recently released their top picks for the Best Family Cars of 2019 and enlisted Hart to help spread the word. As she is a mom to three boys ages 6-13, she knows all about car safety and what families should look for when making this big purchase. We talked to her about this and about her road trip essentials when she's traveling with her family!
The ‘90s and 2019 really aren’t THAT different…are they? Choosing the right car for your family can be difficult, which is why it’s important to go to a trustworthy source. Because we all want our families to be comfortable AND happy, don’t we? *check out the link in my bio to watch the rest of the video! @kbb_com #ad
Why did you team up with KBB?
I love to drive. I was always the one that was behind the wheel. My family and I, we do a lot of road trips. We’re not big flyers so we love to get in the car and drive and bring the dogs. We can bring a bunch of stuff. We can leave when we want. Kelley Blue Book just released their Best Family Cars of 2019, so everybody can go and check out the best family cars and pick one based on what's important to them. With my family, three boys who like to wrestle and get rough in the car, we need to have a DVD unit. It’s nice to have them all be able to tune into a movie or watch something and be entertained for however long that car ride might be.
Do you have tips for parents who are buying their first family car?
Of course parents are so concerned with safety. You can go to KBB.com and look at the safety ratings for all the cars. Especially people who are upgrading to a family car, they want to know what's the safest option. But for families with older kids like me, it’s all about the cup holders. The one we’re looking at has a vacuum system in it. On a long road trip, chips will get ground into the floor, so to have a built-in vacuum is definitely a bonus.
You mentioned your boys can get wild in the car. Do you have tips for parents to be safely focused on the road with crazy kids in back?
Pull over the car. If they’re getting out of hand, you have to take that time out to pull over safely and have a little family chat. My 6-year-old, right now, thinks it’s funny to scream in the car, and I have to explain to him that that’s not okay. Pulling over and getting face-to-face with them just like our parents did. Remember the old saying, “Don’t make me pull this car over?”
Does your family have any fun games they like to play on road trip?
Automobile bingo is fun. We have the bingo cards, and you have to find things like a tractor, a school or a flag. They’re really into old-school entertainment.
Whether you’re a family of road trip enthusiasts or are just venturing into taking car trips, we have rounded up a few items (inspired by our interview with Melissa Joan Hart), to help get you and your family on your way.
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Portable DVD Player
Even if your car is not equipped with a DVD player, you can purchase one (or two) for road trips, that can even easily be stored in the car year round. This portable DVD player has a rechargeable battery and the battery can last for up to 5 hours. It comes with an AC power adapter and can easily be charged on the go. ($54; amazon.com)
Melissa Joan Hart definitely inspired us to start thinking about a built-in vacuum for our next car, but in the meantime a smaller vacuum will have to do. This vacuum can tackle seats, floors and trunks and has an extendable and detachable nozzle. It also has a washable filter and LED light for getting those hard-to-reach places under your kid’s seat. It can be plugged into the AC adapter in your car for convenience and also comes with a storage bag. ($28; amazon.com)
This is the perfect game for road trips, because all you need are the cards and a window to look out of. Each person gets a card, and the first person to see five things in a row on their card, wins! Families will be tasked with looking for things like airplanes, horses, traffic lights and stop signs. Switch the cards from person to person to keep the fun going! ($8; amazon.com)
No matter how hard you try, kids will inevitably eat and drink in the car, so it’s a good idea go ahead and buy some spill-proof snack and drink cups (or one that holds both)! These Contigo cups come in a set of two and conveniently hold snacks on the top and drinks on the bottom. The spout helps to eliminate spills, while the cover contains the snacks and keeps the spout clean. ($22; amazon.com)
If you’re searching for a car for your family, making sure your kids are safely secured in the car should be at the top of your list. Car seats vary for kids based on their ages, weight and height, and come in a number of different makes and models. Even if you already have a car seat, it may be time for an upgrade, because safety standards and guidelines change. This pick by Graco will grow with your family from the infant to toddler stage and beyond. ($200; amazon.com)