In a perfect world, my children would never throw a tantrum, in or out of the car. Unfortunately, sometimes my children throw a massive tantrum while we’re headed somewhere in the car and I have to be ready to deal with them while also keeping everyone safe on the road. Here are five things that save my sanity when my toddler is losing hers on the highway:

1. A car seat they absolutely cannot get out of. When we upgraded to this car seat, neither my 5-year-old nor my 2-year-old could unbuckle it, which gives me a lot of peace of mind when they’re thrashing about in the backseat.

2. A calming CD. Sometimes the CD is for me so I can focus on something else besides screaming, and sometimes it helps my daughter calm down (and occasionally even drift off to sleep!).

3. A snack. Occasionally, that meltdown is being prompted by a hungry little belly, so I like to have a snack in my center console that I can hand back if that’s the problem. Pick something that doesn’t need refrigeration and can handle being stored in the car for weeks at a time, like raisins or crackers. Whether your child is having a hunger-related meltdown or you’re a starving nursing mama, they’ll definitely come in handy sooner rather than later.

4. A game. Like anyone, toddlers get bored in the backseat, and if the tantrum is stemming from that, they might be distracted by some interaction with you. “I Spy” and singing songs together are both great for pulling my daughter out of a tantrum if she isn’t too far gone.

5. A special lovey. If your toddler has a special stuffed animal, blanket, or pacifier, consider getting a duplicate to hide in the car for emergencies. Being able to whip out my daughter’s precious animal has saved us on more than one road trip or grocery store run. Plus, if the original one goes missing right at bedtime, it’s nice to have a spare that I can grab!