Picture this: the open road, a playlist of family favorites, and the promise of unforgettable memories. But if you've got kids in tow, you know that a successful family road trip is all about preparation.

From the backseat battlegrounds to the chorus of "Are we there yet?", keeping your little ones content on long car rides is no small feat. But fear not! We've compiled the ultimate list of road trip essentials for kids that will transform your next family vacation into a smooth and joyful journey.

1. The Indispensable Car Seat: Safety First for Your Littlest Travelers

Safety is non-negotiable, and a reliable car seat tops the list of road trip car essentials. The Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat is designed to grow with your child, offering ten years of use from 4 to 120 pounds.

Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Adaptable for newborns to older kids with its 4-in-1 design.
  • Rigorously tested to meet or exceed US safety standards.
  • Easy-to-remove, washable seat cover for those inevitable spills.

Customer Review: "As a mom of three kids, I've been through my fair share of car seats, and the Graco 4Ever DLX is a game-changer. It's super easy to install, and my kids say it's comfy even on long drives. Knowing they're safe lets me focus on the fun parts of our family road trips!"

2. Portable DVD Player: A Great Way to Keep Young Minds Entertained

Long hours on the road can test anyone's patience, especially young children. The DBPOWER 12" Portable DVD Player comes with a rechargeable battery and supports multiple file formats for all your kids' favorite movies.

DBPOWER 12" Portable DVD Player

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Exclusive Insights:

  • 5-hour rechargeable battery life for extended viewing.
  • Swivel screen for shared viewing and easy angle adjustments.
  • Supports USB and SD cards for a variety of entertainment options.

Customer Review: "Our family's last road trip was a breeze thanks to this portable DVD player. The kids were so engrossed in their Harry Potter marathon that they barely asked about rest stops. It's durable, easy to use, and the picture quality is fantastic. Best purchase for our family vacation!"

3. Snack Containers: Keep Hunger at Bay with Easy Access Munchies

Snacks are a must-have on any road trip essentials list, and the Munchkin Snack Catcher is perfect for little hands. These containers minimize spills and keep snacks within easy reach.

Munchkin Snack Catcher

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Spill-proof design to keep your car clean.
  • Soft flaps for easy access without the mess.
  • Holds up to 9 ounces of snacks, perfect for small children.

Customer Review: "I can't tell you how much these snack containers have saved us on road trips. They're the perfect size for my toddler's hands, and I don't have to worry about finding crushed crackers all over the back seat. Plus, my kids love the bright colors!"

4. First Aid Kit: Be Prepared for Any Minor Mishaps on the Go

A well-stocked first aid kit is one of the most important things to pack. The Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit comes with 120 medical-grade items and a mini kit for quick access.

Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit

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Exclusive Insights:

  • FDA-approved, ensuring the highest quality and safety.
  • Compact and lightweight, easy to store in the glove compartment.
  • Includes a comprehensive guide to help you handle common injuries.

Customer Review: "Last thing you want is a scraped knee ruining the fun. This first aid kit has everything we need and more. It's compact, but I was impressed by how much it holds. On our last road trip, it came in handy more than once. A must-have for any family road trip packing list!"

5. Travel Journal: A Fun Way for Kids to Document Their Journey

Encourage your kids to record their road trip adventures with the Kid's Travel Journal from Peter Pauper Press. It's a great way for them to reflect on their experiences and practice their writing skills.

Kid's Travel Journal

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Prompts and pages for different activities to spark creativity.
  • Compact size for easy packing in a day pack or small bag.
  • Durable cover to withstand the rigors of travel.

Customer Review: "My 8-year-old daughter loved filling out her travel journal during our national park road trip. It kept her entertained during long car rides and now she has a keepsake filled with memories. She's already asking for a new one for our next road trip!"

6. Wet Wipes: For Clean Hands and Faces on the Fly

Mess is inevitable when traveling with kids. Babyganics Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizing Wipes are perfect for quick cleanups and keeping germs at bay.

Babyganics Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizing Wipes

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Alcohol-free sanitizing wipes that's gentle on young skin.
  • Wet wipes are hypoallergenic and enriched with skin-conditioning aloe.
  • Kills 99.9% of germs for peace of mind.

Customer Review: "With young kids, you can never have enough wet wipes on a road trip. These have been a lifesaver for sticky hands and quick face wipes after snacks. I always keep these within easy reach in the passenger seat."

7. Reusable Water Bottles: Stay Hydrated Without the Extra Cost and Waste

Hydration is key, especially on long car rides. The CamelBak Eddy Kids Water Bottle is durable, leakproof, and comes in fun designs that kids love.

CamelBak Eddy Kids Water Bottle

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Exclusive Insights:

  • BPA-free and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
  • Kid-sized and designed for easy sipping without spills.
  • Variety of designs to please every family member's taste.

Customer Review: "We ditched single-use plastic bottles on our family trips, and these CamelBak bottles are fantastic. They don't leak, even when they're flipped upside down by my toddler. Plus, the kids get to pick their favorite designs, which makes them more excited to stay hydrated."

8. Tablet Holder: Keep Electronic Devices Secure and Accessible

For families that allow screen time, a tablet holder like the TFY Universal Car Headrest Mount Holder is a great option. It keeps devices stable and at eye level for backseat viewers.

TFY Universal Car Headrest Mount Holder

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Compatible with most tablets and portable DVD players.
  • Simple, tool-free installation and removal.
  • Allows for horizontal or vertical viewing.

Customer Review: "This tablet holder was a huge bonus on our last road trip. It attaches easily to the headrest and keeps the tablet steady, even on bumpy roads. My kids can watch their shows without holding the tablet for long periods of time, which means fewer complaints and a quieter ride."

9. Car Seat Organizer: A Place for Everything Within Arm's Reach

Keep the backseat organized and clutter-free with the Lusso Gear Car Back Seat Organizer. It has pockets for everything, from toys to books to snacks, ensuring easy access during the trip.

Lusso Gear Car Back Seat Organizer

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Durable construction to withstand the wear and tear of family road trips.
  • Water-resistant fabric for easy cleaning.
  • Adjustable straps for a universal fit in any vehicle.

Customer Review: "The Lusso Gear organizer is one of the best things we've added to our road trip supplies. It fits perfectly behind the passenger seat, and my kids can grab what they need without my help. It's also great for storing extra diapers and baby wipes for quick changes."

10. Cozy Blankets and Pillows: Essential for Naps and Comfort

A soft blanket and a small pillow can make all the difference when kids need to fall asleep in the car. EVERYDAY KIDS Soft Baby Blanket with Neck Pillow is lightweight and warm, perfect for snuggling.

EVERYDAY KIDS Soft Baby Blanket with Neck Pillow

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Extra-large cuddly car and stroller blanket with soft, sturdy neck pillow.
  • Made from the best fabrics, with no harmful chemicals.
  • Comes in various colors to match your kids' preferences.

Customer Review: "Nothing beats seeing your kids cuddled up with their blankets and pillows, sleeping peacefully on a long car ride. These blankets are the perfect size for the car and so soft."

11. Road Trip Games: Classic Fun for the Whole Family

Games are a great way to pass time and create laughter. The Melissa & Doug Flip to Win Travel License Plate Game is a reusable, educational game that teaches geography and can be played by the whole family.

Melissa & Doug Flip to Win Travel License Plate Game

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Exclusive Insights:

  • No loose pieces, making it ideal for car rides.
  • Two-player game that encourages interaction and learning.
  • Sturdy wooden construction for durability.

Customer Review: "Our family loves this license plate game! It's such a fun way to keep everyone engaged and looking out the window instead of at screens. We learn about different states, and it's a great way to involve the whole family in a common activity. It's become a staple for our road trip activities."

12. Emergency Roadside Kit: Be Ready for the Unexpected

You never know when you might encounter a flat tire or need a jump start. The Everlit Survival Car Emergency Kit includes all the essentials like repair jumper cables, bungee cords, electrical tape, space blanket, rain poncho, and more.

Everlit Survival Car Emergency Kit

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Comprehensive kit with 108 essential roadside tools.
  • Compact case that fits easily in your trunk or under a seat.
  • Reflective warning triangle for added safety during roadside stops.

Customer Review: "Last summer, we had a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, and this emergency kit was a lifesaver. It had everything we needed to get back on the road safely. Now, I won't go on any road trip without it. It's definitely one of the most important road trip essentials for peace of mind."

13. Sunshades: Protect Your Little Ones from Harsh Sunlight

Long drives can mean extended exposure to the sun. The Enovoe Car Window Shade provides UV protection and reduces heat, keeping your kids comfortable and protected.

Enovoe Car Window Shade

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Easy to install with static cling technology.
  • Fits most car windows and can be easily adjusted.
  • Comes in a pack of four for full coverage.

Customer Review: "We used these sunshades on our trip to the beach, and they were fantastic. They stick to the windows without any suction cups or adhesives and block out so much sun. The kids were cooler and didn't complain about the glare on their tablets. A great addition to our family road trip checklist."

14. Cooler Bag: Keep Snacks and Drinks Cold for Hours

A cooler bag like the YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler is essential for keeping drinks and perishable snacks chilled. Its compact size makes it perfect for fitting in the car without taking up too much space.

YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Leakproof and durable design for rough use.
  • Superior insulation to keep contents cold for the entire day.
  • Wide opening for easy packing and access to contents.

Customer Review: "The YETI cooler was a bit of an investment, but it's worth every penny. We pack it with cold drinks and healthy snacks, and everything stays chilled for hours. It's tough, easy to carry, and doesn't leak. Plus, it's a huge bonus not having to stop for ice packs or cold drinks at gas stations."

15. Spare Tire and Tools: Don't Let a Flat Tire Derail Your Adventure

Ensure you have a spare tire in good condition and the necessary tools, like the CARTMAN 14" Heavy Duty Universal Lug Wrench, to change a tire if needed.

CARTMAN 14" Heavy Duty Universal Lug Wrench

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Four socket heads fit most common lug nut sizes.
  • Drop-forged steel for strength and durability.
  • Cross-design provides extra leverage for easier tire changes.

Customer Review: "Having the right tools gave us peace of mind on our cross-country trip. We actually had to use the lug wrench once, and it was so easy to use. It's sturdy and fits perfectly in our trunk with the spare tire. Definitely a road trip necessity for any family."

16. Trash Bags and Plastic Bags: Keep Your Car Clean and Organized

Maintain a tidy car with the help of HOTOR Car Trash Can. It's leakproof, attaches easily to the backseat or center console, and even has storage pockets for extra organization.

HOTOR Car Trash Can

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Adjustable straps and collapsible shape for a secure fit in any vehicle.
  • 4 Metallic magnetic snaps inside for fastening the trash bag.
  • Durable leakproof inner lining.

Customer Review: "This car trash can is one of those useful items you don't realize you need until you have it. It's so convenient for the kids to throw their trash away immediately, and it's helped keep our car so much cleaner on long trips. The extra pockets are great for storing small toys and other items."

17. Diaper Bag: A Must-Have for Families with Babies or Toddlers

For those traveling with babies or toddlers, a well-organized diaper bag like the RUVALINO Diaper Bag Backpack is essential. It's spacious, has multiple compartments, and comes with a durable changing pad.

RUVALINO Diaper Bag Backpack

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Made from lightweight, durable and waterproof fabric for durability and easy cleaning.
  • Includes padded laptop pocket, mesh pocket organizers and other organization essentials.
  • Insulated pockets to keep bottles warm or cool.

Customer Review: "With a baby and a toddler, this diaper bag has been a lifesaver on road trips. Everything has its place, and I can find what I need without digging around. The insulated pockets are perfect for bottles, and the changing pad is super handy for quick diaper changes at rest stops."

18. Pillows for Neck Support: Essential for Comfort During Long Drives

The KeaBabies Toddler Pillow with Pillowcase is ergonomically designed and tested on kids, making it easier for your child to nap comfortably in the car.

KeaBabies Toddler Pillow with Pillowcase

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Ergonomically designed for the best spinal support without compromising on their comfort.
  • Soft and machine washable for easy maintenance.
  • Comes in a variety of colors and patterns that kids will love.

Customer Review: "My son always struggled to get comfortable enough to sleep in the car until we found this pillow. It's soft, supports his neck, and he can even use it to lean against the window. It's made a huge difference on long car trips."

19. Coloring Books and Crayons: A Creative Outlet for Kids on the Road

Keep your kids' creativity flowing with the Crayola Epic Book of Awesome, All-in-One Coloring Book. Pair it with Crayola Twistables Crayons for mess-free coloring.

Crayola Epic Book of Awesome

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Exclusive Insights:

  • 288 pages of coloring fun to last even the longest road trip.
  • Twistable crayons don't require sharpening and won't break easily.
  • A variety of themes to cater to different interests.

Customer Review: "Coloring books are a great way to keep the kids entertained without screens. This Crayola book has so many pages, and the twistable crayons are perfect for the car—they don't roll away, and there's no mess. It's a road trip essential for us now."

20. Headphones: Let Kids Enjoy Their Tunes Without Disturbing Others

The LilGadgets Connect+ PRO Kids Headphones are volume-limited to protect young ears and come with a share port to connect multiple headphones to one device.

LilGadgets Connect+ PRO Kids Headphones

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Exclusive Insights:

  • SoftTouch material for comfort during extended wear.
  • Durable design to withstand the rough and tumble of travel.
  • Available in multiple colors to suit your child's preference.

Customer Review: "These headphones have been a godsend on long car rides. My kids can listen to their music or watch a movie, and I don't have to hear it. They're comfortable, the sound quality is great, and the volume limit gives me peace of mind."

21. Travel-Sized Board Games: Compact Fun for the Whole Family

Board games aren't just for rainy days at home. The Hasbro Gaming Road Trip Series offers travel-sized versions of classic games like Scrabble, Connect 4 and Battleship.

Hasbro Gaming Scrabble

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Portable and easy to store in the glove compartment or door pockets.
  • All pieces are securely stored inside the game units.
  • Quick to set up and pack away for pit stops or hotel room fun.

Customer Review: "We love these travel-sized board games! They're perfect for hotel stays or when we take a break at a rest area. The kids get a kick out of playing a quick game of Battleship, and it's a great way to spend some quality family time together."

22. Portable Chargers: Keep Devices Charged and Ready to Go

A dead cell phone or tablet can be a major inconvenience, especially when relying on electronic devices for navigation or entertainment. The Anker PowerCore 10000 is a compact, high-capacity portable charger that can keep your devices powered up.

Anker PowerCore 10000

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Exclusive Insights:

  • One of the smallest and lightest 10000mAh portable chargers.
  • Provides multiple charges for smartphones or tablets.
  • High-speed charging technology to quickly power up devices.

Customer Review: "On our last road trip, this portable charger was a lifesaver. My phone's battery tends to drain quickly when using Google Maps, but with the Anker PowerCore, I could keep it charged all day. It's small enough to fit in my purse, and it charges devices super fast."

23. Travel Mugs and Sippy Cups: No Spills and Easy Sipping for All Ages

Keep drinks hot or cold and prevent spills with travel mugs and sippy cups. The Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug is perfect for parents, while the Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup is ideal for young kids.

Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug

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Exclusive Insights:

  • AUTOSEAL technology ensures no spills or leaks.
  • Keeps drinks hot for up to 5 hours or cold for up to 12 hours.
  • Trainer cup is dentist recommended as it supports normal muscle development in a child's mouth.

Customer Review: "The Contigo travel mug is amazing. I can toss it in my bag without worrying about leaks, and my coffee stays hot for hours. The Munchkin cup is the only sippy cup we use because it doesn't leak, and it's easy for my daughter to hold. They're both essential for keeping drinks secure on a long car ride."

24. Change of Clothes: Always Be Prepared for Spills or Messes

Accidents happen, especially with kids. Packing a change of clothes in an easy-to-reach bag, such as the ALVABABY 2pcs Cloth Diaper Wet Dry Bag ensures that you're prepared for any spills or messes.

ALVABABY 2pcs Cloth Diaper Wet Dry Bag

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Exclusive Insights:

  • Made from waterproof 100% polyester.
  • 2 Zippered compartments to keep wet and dry things separate.
  • Comes with handle for easy carrying.

Customer Review: "We learned our lesson early on when we didn't have a spare outfit for our toddler, and she had a diaper blowout in the car. Now, we always pack extra clothes in a separate bag for easy access. It's saved us from many headaches on long road trips."

25. Kids Travel Tray: Convenient Organization for On-the-Go Fun 

The PILLANI Kids Travel Tray for Car is a road trip essential, designed to keep your little ones entertained and organized throughout your journey.

PILLANI Kids Travel Tray

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Exclusive Insights: 

  • Features a 15.5in wide x 12in deep erasable drawing platform that also serves as a food tray. 
  • Includes a mess-free design with a water bottle holder for easy access. 
  • Comes with 5 original printed game kits and 4 colorful coloring pens for creative play. 

Customer Review: "This travel tray has been a lifesaver on our road trips. My toddler can watch shows, draw, and even eat without making a mess. Plus, it's easy to clean and store away when not in use. I highly recommend it for any family on the go."


In conclusion, embarking on a family road trip is an exciting adventure filled with opportunities for creating lifelong memories. However, the success of such a journey heavily relies on thorough preparation. Having a comprehensive road trip packing list is crucial in ensuring that you're equipped to handle any situation that may arise. This article has presented 25 great road trip essentials for kids, from comfort items like their favorite blankets and toys to entertainment options such as portable devices and travel games.

These family road trip essentials are not merely items to pack; they are the key to a smooth, enjoyable, and memorable journey. They ensure your children are comfortable, entertained, and well-cared for throughout the trip, reducing potential stressors for parents. By incorporating these essentials into your travel routine, you can focus more on the fun and exploration that comes with road trips and less on managing potential challenges.

Remember, the joy of a family road trip lies not only in the destination but also in the journey. Ensure your next road trip is a delightful experience for the whole family by using this guide as your go-to resource. Happy travels!

FAQ Section

What are the most important road trip essentials when traveling with kids? 

The most important road trip essentials for kids include car seats for safety, a first aid kit for emergencies, road trip snacks and drinks to keep hunger at bay, entertainment to avoid boredom, and comfort items like pillows and blankets to make the car feel like home.

How often should we plan for rest stops on a road trip with kids? 

It's a good idea to plan for rest stops every 2-3 hours to allow kids to use the bathroom, stretch their legs, and burn off some energy. This can help prevent restlessness and make the trip more enjoyable for everyone.

How can I keep my car organized and clean during a road trip with kids? 

Use car organizers, storage pockets, and designated areas for trash to keep your car tidy. Bring along plastic bags for trash or wet items, and have baby wipes on hand for quick cleanups. Encourage kids to put things back in their place after use to maintain order throughout the trip.

What should I pack for a road trip with kids?

When packing for a road trip with kids, consider road trip necessities like snacks, water bottles, and a first-aid kit. Don't forget comfort items such as blankets, pillows, and their favorite toys or stuffed animals. Entertainment is also key - pack books, coloring materials, travel games, or portable devices for movies and music. Changes of clothes, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and plastic bags for trash are also essential.

What do you need for a long car ride with kids?

For a long car ride with kids, you need to pack plenty of snacks and drinks to keep them fueled and hydrated. Entertainment options like books, games, and electronic devices can help keep boredom at bay. Comfort items like pillows and blankets will make the journey more pleasant, while a first-aid kit and necessary medications ensure you're prepared for any minor mishaps. Also, remember to bring spare clothes and hygiene products.

How do I keep my kids entertained on a road trip?

Keeping kids entertained during road tripping involves a mix of traditional games like 'I spy' or '20 questions', and technology like tablets or handheld gaming devices. Audiobooks and music playlists can provide entertainment for the whole family. Additionally, consider bringing along activity books or coloring books for quieter moments. Plan for regular stops at interesting locations to break up the journey and create fun memories.

How long can a toddler be in a car seat on a road trip?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it's recommended to limit the time a toddler spends in a car seat to no more than 2 hours at a time. It's important to take regular breaks where your toddler can move around and stretch. For longer road trips, plan for stops every 1-2 hours for potty breaks, snacks, and playtime to help toddlers cope with the journey.

Tap the product below to check the price!

  1. Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat
  2. DBPOWER 12" Portable DVD Player
  3. Munchkin Snack Catcher
  4. Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit
  5. Kid's Travel Journal
  6. Babyganics Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizing Wipes
  7. CamelBak Eddy Kids Water Bottle
  8. TFY Universal Car Headrest Mount Holder
  9. Lusso Gear Car Back Seat Organizer
  10. EVERYDAY KIDS Soft Baby Blanket with Neck Pillow
  11. Melissa & Doug Flip to Win Travel License Plate Game
  12. Everlit Survival Car Emergency Kit
  13. Enovoe Car Window Shade
  14. YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler
  15. CARTMAN 14" Heavy Duty Universal Lug Wrench
  16. HOTOR Car Trash Can
  17. RUVALINO Diaper Bag Backpack
  18. KeaBabies Toddler Pillow with Pillowcase
  19. Crayola Epic Book of Awesome
  20. LilGadgets Connect+ PRO Kids Headphones
  21. Hasbro Gaming Scrabble
  22. Anker PowerCore 10000
  23. Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug
  24. ALVABABY 2pcs Cloth Diaper Wet Dry Bag
  25. PILLANI Kids Travel Tray
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