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We’ve become a Toyota Swagger family! By Alison Rhodes, The Safety Mom

By The Safety Mom

The big question everyone asked me today was “How was it taking 5 kids on vacation?” Well, as I said, lesson one is that it’s absolutely not a vacation for the parents! But, it was fun! I would definitely recommend Hershey Park and Lancaster, PA for any family – there’s something for everyone.

For the trip down I borrowed a Toyota Sienna. I’ve always been a big Toyota fan but had never been in one of their mini-vans (it was always my “pre-kid” car!) I was always one of those women that vowed to never drive a minivan. But yes, like most of us, I resigned myself to growing up and becoming a parent. Of course, now with kids I see how much easier life is with one. When I was researching the Sienna online I ran across their new ad campaign on You Tube. If you haven’t seen it, you need to check it out – it’s hilarious!


Without a doubt, the commercials highlight some of my (and my kids) favorite features as well:

Reclining middle seats – The kids were constantly fighting over who could sit in one of the middle seats. There is a footrest that comes up and it completely reclines. Yes, we could have slept in it!

Back-up camera – OK, in the commercial she uses it to check out other people going into yoga class but it is definitely a great option. Around town, I can make sure that a child isn’t behind the car as I’m backing up from a parking lot. In Lancaster, it helped me be sure a goat or cow wasn’t behind me!

Tons of room – With 5 kids comes a lot of stuff but no one felt crowded! Between floaties, favorite stuffed animals and blankets and tons of souvenirs we were packed full. I loved that I could open the trunk with the key fob when I had my hands full of wet beach towels and holding my 4 year-old’s hand.

Of course, a 4 hour car trip would probably not be possible without the built-in DVD player and headphones (Toyota, please consider giving two more standard with the car???) At least it stopped the “Mom are we there yet?” question for a little while!

The other feature that I thought was really cool was the Front and Rear Intuitive Parking Assist. Whenever I get too close to something a warning alarm starts going off. I have to admit, for someone who is lousy at parallel parking like myself, this is a dream come true!!

And, as the Safety Mom, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the three row side curtain air bags. On our way down we saw a horrific accident and it always makes you stop and think. So many car accidents are a side-impact collision that for me, this is an absolute must.

The Sienna is definitely a cool minivan and that comes with a lot of great features. The kids loved the Toyota Swagger rap as well and are now making up their own dance – stay tuned to YouTube for our version of the Swagger family!

Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises and Safety Mom Solutions, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant.

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