Children can need a lot of guidance in proper car safety, especially when they are very young. Car safety should never be taken lightly. As we all drive so often, it can be easy to fall into bad habits that we then accidentally pass down to our children. Any driver, but especially a driver with children in the car, needs to take passenger safety seriously. Here are some of the best ways to keep your children safe.
Always Wear A Seat Belt
In the event of a car accident, a seat belt is one of the most important things that could save your child’s life. Whether they sit in the front seat, or in the back of the car, no matter how short the journey, everyone in the car needs to be wearing a seat belt. Set a good example by always wearing your own belt and make sure you put it on before pulling out of the driveway. Don’t do it while you’re already driving. Make sure children are safely buckled in, and if they are old enough to do up their own seat belt, remind them every time you get into the car. It will soon become automatic to safely buckle up.
Learn How to Properly Use A Seat Belt
If your child is young enough to need a car seat, then it needs to be a safe one. Make sure that the car seat you choose has been deemed safe, and meets safety laws in your state. The seat needs to be the right size for the child and should be secured properly. After installing the car seat, give it a good tug to make sure it isn’t going anywhere. Give it a rough shake to make sure it isn’t loose.
While your child is under two years old or weighs less than 20 pounds, their seat should be left facing the rear of the car. Don’t turn the seat too early. Check the harnesses on the seat. They shouldn’t be too loose or too tight. Give them a pull to be sure they’re firm and will keep your child in place if you have to brake hard or you are hit by another vehicle. If you have a new car seat, it can be a good idea to have a practice run fastening the child into it before you load it into the car to make sure you can fasten it safely and properly.
Once your child has outgrown their car seat, you can swap to a booster seat. A booster seat pushes the child high enough to be safely held in place by the seat belt. Without it, a child can slip out from under the belt and be badly hurt. A winter coat can also cause a problem with your car seat, as the bulk of the coat will compress in a crash situation, making the harness no longer tight enough. Take your child’s coat off before buckling them in, and instead, make sure the car is warm enough for them without it.
Never Leave Your Child in The Car
Even if you’re only popping into the shop for a minute, your children should never be left alone in the car. If the car is left running, then they may have all kinds of accidents, such a managing to accidentally changing the gear and leading to a crash. If the car is off, then the temperature inside the car can change rapidly, leaving your child at risk of becoming very cold or very hot. Take the child with you, or one parent has to stay in the car with them during a stop.
Don’t Text and Drive
Texting and driving at the same time is very dangerous, as it distracts you from the road and the other traffic around you. If you need to talk to someone, either pull over or use the speakerphone to make a phone call. Looking down at your phone lessens your concentration and alertness. If you’re not paying full attention, you’re at risk of a serious accident.
Put Everything in The Trunk
One of the common causes of injury during a car accident is being hit by flying loose objects from around the car. Anything big or heavy that isn’t secured can cause a nasty injury, even in minor accidents. Put anything loose and heavy into the trunk, including luggage, groceries, or heavy handbags.
Keep the Car In Good Repair
If you’re using your car for your family, keep it in good repair so you’re confident that it is safe. Caring for your car makes it less likely to break down and should make it safer in the event of an accident. Make sure you check the belts, brakes and the engine at a bare minimum.
Be Careful with Snacks
Most parents don’t think twice about giving young children snacks or drinks in the car, especially on long trips. However, think about what would happen if your child, sitting in the back seat, began to choke while you were driving. Would you be able to stop the car, get out, and reach them in time to help them? If this happens and you begin to panic, you may also make unsafe decisions about where and how you stop, putting both of you at risk. Save snacking for when the car is stopped so you can step in if needs be.
Be Safe in All Vehicles
Many parents are very careful with their own children in their own car but are much more relaxed about car safety in other situations. For example, if you carpool with other parents from your child’s school or weekend activities, it’s common to pile in too many kids and not worry about seat belts or car seats. Never do this. All children in the car need to be safely buckled in with a car seat, booster seat or seat belt. Don’t the risk, even if you aren’t going far.
If you’re taking your child in someone else’s car or a taxi, take your car seat with you and make sure you fit it properly, so they are safe. The risk of an accident isn’t lessened in somebody else’s car. A lightweight, portable car seat is ideal to have for situations like this and can also be useful for taking on holiday if you’re going to be using a hire car. No matter what car you go in, your child needs to be secured safely, with the correct equipment.
Teach Them Car Safety
The easiest way to keep your child safe is to teach them to take some responsibility for themselves. Once they’re old enough to understand, start teaching them how to be safe in a car and why it is important. They should know to always put a seat belt on in a moving vehicle, not to distract the driver, sit in the back seat and how to wear a seat belt properly.
This will help them to be safe in your car and will also keep them safe in a car driven by someone else who may forget to remind them about seat belts or have different safety standards to you. With proper safety knowledge, your child can be responsible for keeping themselves safe, and they are less likely to do things like distract you while you’re driving or try to undo or adjust their own seat belt. Car safety is essential for any parent, and children need to understand it.