Driving with kids in your car is a responsibility that should always be taken seriously. When there are kids in the car, there is an increased chance for distraction whethere it is the need for a bathroom break, requests for snacks, or even fighting with each other. Focusing on your surroundings can become trying when you’ve heard “Are we there yet?” multiple times during your trip. Here are some timps for keeping your young passengers safe.
- Buckle up Be sure all passengers in your vehicle have their seat bets fastened before you begin driving. Make it a habit to start the vehicle only once you have done a physical check to be sure everyone is properly bucked and ready for the trip. Remind passengers that seat belts must stay on until the vehicle is turned off.
- purchase reliable car seats Never purchase a car seat if you are unable to verify its history. Car seats are compromised in a crash and should not be used again. If you decide to use a second hand seat, be sure you know the previous owner, and verify all parts are included before installing it in your vehicle.
- Install seats properly Be sure to read the user manual for your car or booster seat. Improperly installed seats pose almost as much risk as no seat at all.
- Use age recommendations Always use a car seat that is rated for your child’s age, height and weight. Seats are designed to meet the safety needs of the age group they are rated for. Whether it is a rear facing seat for your infant, or a backless booster for the older child that is just a bit to short. Infants and toddlers should remain rear facing until they have outgrown the height guidelines for the seat. Front facing car seats with a 5 point harness should be used for all children up to 5 years old. Once your child has outgrown the 5 point harness, they should be in a booster seat until the seat belt of the vehicle properly fits across their shoulder and chest without a booster. Children should also ride in the backseat until they are 13 years old, regardless of their height. Click here for more information on car seat recommendations.
- Never leave a child unattended Children should never be left in an unattended vehicle. During the summer, temperatures inside a vehicle are drastically higher than outside temperatures. Even with windows cracked, the temperature can rise to a dangerous level. In winter, cold temperatures and the increased likelihood of an accident can lead to unforeseen dangers for children left alone.
- Use safe entertainment Entertainment during travel should be limited to those items that could not be an additional risk during an accident. You should also not allow any items that could become a distraction to the driver, such as balloons, balls, or other items that may end up in the front seat.
- Teach passengers the rules Be sure your passengers are aware of the rules and that you consistently enforce them. Let them know they should follow the same rules whether they are in your vehicle, or are a passenger of a family or friend.