It’s a big deal to be the one to drive a newborn home for the first time. That’s why we made this guide to child safety in and around vehicles to help you out. After carefully placing them in the safety seat, checking that the straps are tight and the neck support is in place, and starting the most cautious drive of your life, you arrive safely at your destination. When transporting valuable goods, car safety becomes paramount.
In the future, when your life has sped up, car safety will still be paramount. When there is a lot on one’s plate, it’s easy for car safety to be overlooked. Developing good judgment and caution around vehicles at a young age is crucial.
Safety Belts and Car Seats
Most child fatalities and serious injuries in the United States occur in automobile accidents. Safety restraints like car seats and seat belts are crucial to avoiding accidents and injuries while driving.
Please use car seats in accordance with the recommended guidelines. Always use a child safety seat appropriate for your child’s age and size when traveling by car. When traveling with children, always use safety seats until they outgrow them due to height or weight. A child’s level of safety decreases with each successive car seat as he “matures.” Younger kids (those under 13) should always sit in the back. A child riding in the front passenger seat could be seriously hurt or killed by the airbag deploying. And before you set out, check to see that everyone in the car is wearing a seatbelt.
Children’s Safety Seats Listed by Age
Protect your child while driving by adhering to the car seat’s weight and height restrictions. The American Academy of Pediatrics has provided the following guidelines for using car seats properly.
- Toddlers and younger babies. Children should ride in the back seat facing the rear until they reach the maximum height or weight. Until they turn 2, many kids can still use rear-facing car seats.
- Little ones who are still in preschool. Until they reach the rear-facing car seat’s weight or height limits, children should ride in the back. Most child safety seats accommodate kids weighing up to 65 pounds.
- Young people who are old enough to be in school. Children should ride in the back seat using a booster seat and the adult lap and shoulder belt until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall—or between the ages of 8 and 12.
- Adolescents and preteens. Children should always use the lap and shoulder belts in a car once they reach the appropriate age and size for the seat belt. Any passengers younger than 13 years old must sit in the back.
After you’ve got the right car seat in place and the kids are buckled in, you’re ready to go. To make matters worse, kids are notoriously difficult to get in the car. Put these suggestions to use and see if you can’t enjoy a more tranquil departure.
- Don’t rush out the door, and give people time to get ready. Getting everyone in the car quickly can be stressful.
- If your child is having difficulty getting into the car, try offering him or her choices like, “Do you want me to lift you in, or do you want to climb in?”
- Allow older children some independence, such as buckling their own seatbelts. Acknowledge their efforts and reassure them that they are doing fine. Please wait a little longer if they tell you they need more time. Practice will make them more proficient.
- If your children are reluctant car passengers, try offering them an incentive to change their minds. Put your thinking cap on and devise creative ways to pass the time in the car with your loved ones, such as a unique treat, toy, or game you can only play together.
- Apply some common sense by explaining that the car will only move if everyone is buckled in. Wearing a seatbelt is mandatory by law, so always do so before you start the vehicle.
- If that fails, talk them through the process as you gently but firmly buckle them in. Keeping your cool and showing your child that you are in charge will help both of you relax.
Hot Car Safety Advice
In children under 15, heat stroke is the second leading cause of death when involving a motor vehicle. Heat stroke can occur if a child’s body temperature rises too high. Cars tend to get hot very quickly. A car can heat up by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, and you won’t be able to keep the interior cool by cracking a window once you turn off the engine.
There are many scenarios where a child is left in a car alone. Sometimes the kid hops in the car without anyone knowing, maybe to play a game. An adult may leave a child in a car while they run an errand. The most typical cause of this is that the driver forgets to get the kid out of the car. It’s common for parents to rush off to work without remembering to drop off their kids at daycare, especially if they don’t usually do so.
Here are some easy ways to keep your kid safe from the perils of riding in a hot car.
Avoid the risk of leaving a child in a hot car by following these steps:
- Even if you’re going to be stopping for a second, make it a rule that everyone gets out of the car.
- Before you get out of the car, always double-check the backseat.
- Make mental notes to move the diaper bag to the front seat next to you and the purse or phone to the back seat, out of your child’s reach.
- If someone else is driving your child, make sure they get there safely by calling or texting them.
- If your child is going to be more than 10 minutes late to pick them up, have their caretaker call you.
To keep a kid from getting into the car:
- Before leaving the car, ensure it is completely locked, and all the doors are closed.
- The keys should be kept safely out of their reach to prevent children from opening the car door on their own.
- Don’t let your kid crawl into the trunk from the inside of the car by keeping the back seats folded down and unlocked.
- Make it clear to kids that the car is not a place for them to play. Educate them on the dangers of playing hide-and-seek in the trunk or vehicle.
- Children have a natural inclination to wander and hide, and they may disappear without a trace. If your kid goes missing and won’t answer the phone, look in the nearest body of water (a pool or pond, for example) and then search your car (including the trunk).
Advice for Keeping Your Car Safe on Every Trip
It takes preparation and patience to drive with young children. While you cannot prevent your children from complaining or fighting in the car, you can take measures to keep yourself from becoming frazzled. Observing the following safety guidelines will make every trip much more pleasurable.
- Organize your trip in advance. Make sure everything you need is within easy reach while driving.
- Avoid using a mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. We can put off texting and call for now. Preparing your phone for streaming music before starting the car is a good idea.
- If you need to tend to a child, pull over to the side of the road or another safe area. In no circumstances should the driver turn around or reach back to the back seat.
- Backup cameras and automatic emergency brakes are just two of the many modern safety features available on newer vehicles. Utilize the in-car amenities, but keep your focus on the road. Technology can’t replace safe driving habits.
- Have fun, and don’t take yourself too seriously while behind the wheel. Kids can tell you enjoy your time with them when you engage in activities such as singing, playing, and laughing. Plan some fun activities as a family in the car and enjoy the time together.
Having a young child is a temporary state. You may be struggling with that adorable newborn you brought home because he is now a difficult toddler, but before you know it, he will be getting his driver’s license. Help keep him safe now and in the future by emphasizing car safety.
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