Protect Your Little Ones In The Car
You drive all over town and even the country with your kids in the car. It seems like keeping them safe would be as simple as telling them to buckle up, but you can take it a step further. Whether you are going around the corner or heading to the other end of the nation, here are some steps you can take to make your children safer.
Free Inspection at the Fire Station
Most local fire departments offer free car seat inspections. People are often amazed to discover that their car seats are installed incorrectly. Seats that have too much movement in them are not going to protect your child, but you can have them checked and corrected at no charge. The next time you drive past your local fire department, swing in and ask about having your seats looked at.
Vigilance Even in the Suburbs
Seatbelts are just as important when you are driving through the neighborhood as they are on the highway. Don’t let your child forego the seatbelt because you’re only a few miles from home. The fact is that most accidents happen close to home, and your child can be killed if your car is struck and they are not restrained by the safety belt.
Get Your Money’s Worth out of the Car Seat
There is a temptation to get kids out of the car seats sooner rather than later. Part of it comes from the desire of a growing child to leave a baby seat behind. It also becomes an issue because parents get tired of always having to strap the kids in and help them get out again. However, the large car seats do save lives. Every step down decreases the protection level, so keep your child in a 5-point harness as long as possible. Once your child switches to a booster, make sure they stay in it until they are at least eight years old or 80 pounds.
The Safest Seats are in the Rear
The back seats are the safest ones in the car. Growing children who have graduated from booster seats are often anxious to ride in the front with their parents. However, the front air bags can prove deadly to children under the age of 12. Your child will have the rest of his or her life to hop in the front seat and look out the windshield. Keep them safe in the rear seat until they are at least 12 years old.
Distractions Not Allowed
A big part of keeping the kids safe in the car is avoiding accidents. This can be impossible to do if your children are screaming, fighting, or generally pestering each other. You could try to address the kids and watch the road, but this is a deadly game. A better choice is to pull over on the side of the road, put the car in park and quietly wait for them to settle down. When the kids are calm again, you can get back on the road and continue safely on your merry way.
There is clearly more to protecting children in the car than just telling them to put their seat belt on. With the right precautions regarding car seats and education, you can keep your children safe every time you get in the car. Resist the urge to let them graduate from a car seat or sit up front before they are old enough. Keep the entire family safe and protect other drivers by pulling over when the kids are being distracting. They will eventually understand and appreciate the importance of staying calm and quiet when you are on the road.
Kathy Seymour blogs about car safety, especially for kids. Keep your kids protected with safe practices and a good car insurance policy, just in case anything should happen. You can find a good auto insurance policy at carinsurance.org.uk.