Following steps to keep your kids safe in the car is a totally doable way to prevent tragedy from happening when you’re out and about. I know that raising kids means a lot of extra work. True, there are things you can be lax about, such as eating candy before dinner, but it’s never a good idea to let car safety fall by the wayside. Many kids are hurt or injured in car accidents every year and many of those tragedies could have been prevented. Please make sure you follow these simple steps to keep your kids safe in the car.
Kids aren’t typically old enough to ride without a car seat until they are at least eight years old, though kids on the smaller side may have to wait even longer. Car seats are designed to keep infants, toddlers, preschoolers and young grade school kids safe in the event of a car accident. You’ll need to follow the exact age, height and weight specifications for your child’s seat for ultimate safety. In general, babies ride rear-facing with a five-point harness until they are at least two years old. They’ll continue to need a five-point harness until they are 40 pounds. You can then use a booster that utilizes the car’s seat belt until your child is tall enough and heavy enough to ride without a seat. This is the most important of the many steps to keep your kids safe in the car, so it pays to understand how the car seat you choose works.
Many states have laws regarding the age at which kids can safely ride in the front seat, typically around the age of twelve. This is largely because of the size requirements that accompany the air bag in the passenger side of the car. I know it’s hard to turn down your tween when all his friends are riding in the front seat, but it’s safer for kids to stay in the back no matter how much they whine and complain. Plus, if they stay in the back they can’t change your radio station in the middle of your favorite song. Everyone wins!
Many kids have been tragically killed by a car in their own driveway or a neighbor’s driveway. Before backing your car out, check behind and under it to be sure no kids are playing or hiding there. I know – it sounds far-fetched, but kids don’t always display the best judgment, so it’s a good idea to just assume they might do something that isn’t that smart and get underneath your vehicle.
Don’t do this ever. Besides the risk of the kids being taken by a stranger or putting the car in gear and rolling into traffic, sitting in a hot or cold car is very dangerous. As the car heats up or cools down, your child is at risk of extreme temperature conditions. I know it’s a hassle to haul the kids into the gas station just to pay for a tank of gas, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
It might sound like the stuff of comedy movies, but a child who gets a body part trapped in a power window could be seriously hurt. Before hitting the button, make sure your kids have their heads, arms and fingers inside the car. Heck, check for legs and feet too – you never know with kids! At the same time, teach your kids to never roll their window up if they’re hanging out of it. I lock the windows in my car so the kids can’t play with them – that’s always a good option too.
If I’m perfectly honest, I could never text and drive at the same time. Not being a teenager, I still have to peck out each letter and can’t do it if I can’t see the keyboard. I know a lot of people can, but it’s never a good idea to text while driving, whether you have kids in the car or not. Some states even outlaw it, so you can get into real trouble if you’re caught. Nothing is ever so important that it can’t wait until you can pull over. Teach teen drivers never to text and also be on the lookout for distracted drivers that put you and your kids at risk on the road.
Sure it’s fun to get in and pretend to be a hot rod in a race, but kids should never play in the car. If you’re driving, they should be buckled in safely, though reading books or playing with small toys is fine. A parked car is a dangerous place for kids because they could get trapped inside or pop the car into neutral and roll out into the street. Teach your kids to stay out of the car if you aren’t going somewhere.
How do you keep your kids safe in the car? Sadly, I find that it’s vital to watch the other drivers too because so many people eat, text, brush their teeth or apply make-up while driving. I’ve even seen someone reading! Is there anything new to you here?
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