Are You Driving the Kids Around? Tips for Au Pairs

If you are responsible for driving your host family children to and from school, you are probably familiar with the route. Now that school is out, you may need to familiarize yourself with your community a bit more. I wanted to share some helpful tips with you as you learn to negotiate the roads of your local area safely.

ap in car with boy2First, remember to always use your safety belt and properly secure the children into their car seats or booster seats or safety belts before leaving the driveway. Naturally, always follow the speed limit and be aware of pedestrians and bicyclists on the road.

You probably know that when a school bus puts on its yellow lights, it is signaling that it will be stopping. While the yellow lights are still flashing, it is okay to pass the bus in either direction, but as soon as the red lights come on, you must stop, no matter which side of the road you or the bus is located.

What you may not know, and some American drivers should be reminded of this, is that when a police vehicle, ambulance/rescue or fire truck has lights on and siren sounding, you must pull over and stop. Many drivers will ignore these vehicles until they are right behind them with lights and sirens. Just imagine that first responder is on the way to an emergency at your family home, or transporting a loved one to the hospital in a medical emergency. Get out of the way! The law is that you must pull over to the right side of the road and stop the vehicle as soon as possible, until the emergency vehicle passes you. Then you may rejoin traffic and continue to your destination.

If you are unfortunate enough to be pulled over by a police officer, here is some advice. First, stay in the car. Just roll down the window; sometimes officers will approach your car on the passenger side, so roll down whatever window the officer approaches. Be polite and be prepared to show the officer your driver’s license, the car’s registration and insurance papers (usually located in the glove box, but ask your host family before using the car). Follow the officer’s instructions, but do not be afraid. You will be able to call your host family if you want, and very often the officer will take your paperwork back to the police car for a minute, and then return it to you with either a verbal or written warning about whatever you were pulled over for, or with a ticket for some violation you may have committed. Never argue or fight with an officer; just listen, answer politely and wait for any instructions. Most of the time, you will be very nervous but may not even get a ticket.

When learning to driver to new locations in your area, always look at the directions on the computer, GPS or an old-fashioned map before you get in the car. Be aware of distances between turns or landmarks to look for so that you know you are going in the right direction. Be sure to write down directions, including landmarks, route numbers, distances and road names, before your trip and bring them with you in case you make a wrong turn. Stop for help at local businesses if you get lost. People working there may be more familiar with an area than someone who is just walking along the street.

Most of all, drive safely and enjoy the time with your host family children. Your year will pass quickly and the children will grow into adults. Make the summer a happy and memorable one for you and your host family.

For more information about Go Au Pair or hosting an Au Pair, please visit or contact me, your local area representative in the RI area at 401.309.1925 or


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