• 3 Tips to Improve Child Car Safety

    Child car safety should be the first thing on every parent’s mind every time they get behind the wheel with their children in the car. The fact of the matter is that no matter where we may be going to how soon we need to get there, our children are our greatest responsibility. By keeping a few simple things in mind, it’s easy to ensure that our children are safe and protected while on the roaduntil they are driving themselves. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind to protect children while they are in the car.

    #1 Sitting Correctly

    Using proper car seats isn’t just the single most important step for keeping infants and children safe in the carit’s the law. Children 10 and under should probably use a car seat or booster seat while riding. The safety systems on modern cars are designed for adults; children have special needs when it comes to safety and only a child car seat or booster seat can properly protect them. Car seats fall into 4 different catagories:

    1. Infants – Infants should use a special rearward-facing seat. A rear-facing car seat is the only way to protect the youngest children in the case of a collision. Because infants have very fragile bones, they are especially vulnerable to injury in a crash. Children should normally ride in a rearward-facing seat until they are able to walk on their own.
    2. Toddlers and Young Children – Toddlers and young children should use a forward facing child appropriate to their size. It may be necessary for them to switch car seats several times as they grow. All car seats for children in this age group should have their own built-in restraints independent of the car’s normal seat belts. The car’s belts should be used only to secure the seat frame. Designs that use the car’s seat belts are outdated and could pose a danger.
    3. Children Ages 4 to 7 – Younger school-age children should use a booster seat to make sure that they are properly protected in case of a collision. Automotive booster seats teach proper posture and help position children for maximum safety in a crash. They also increase riding comfort and help prevent children from developing improper seatbelt wearing habits. Auto booster seats should be readily available through department and children’s stores, and some auto manufacturers offer them as optional equipment in their cars.
    4. Children 7 and up – As children grow bigger, they may or may not continue to need a booster seat, depending on their size. The problem with determining whether or not they should continue using a booster seat while riding in the car is knowing who to ask. Consulting with your pediatrician is a good place to start. Some communities also offer free parent classes on car seat safety, which can also be a good place to start.

    #2 Location, Location, Location

    A big factor with how safe children are while riding in the car is where they sit. Parents should remember that the back seat is always the safest place for children. SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) devices such as airbags and seat-belt preloading devices can cause injury to children, since they are designed for adult bodies. Car seats should never be placed in the front. The one exception to this rule is in two seat pickups equipped with an airbag disabling switch, which should be in the “Off” position whenever children are riding.

    #3 Pay attention to the Details

    There are a lot of other details that responsible parents should pay attention to when driving with children in the car. Keep the area that children are riding in clean and free of debris. The trunk or cargo area is the best place for things like strollers and bags. Otherwise they can cause injury in the case of a collision. Make sure that anything you allow a child to play with while in the car is light and soft or else a sudden stop or collision can cause the child to be injured by something as simple as a toy.