Keeping Kids Safe in the Car
Parenting often means learning to compromise but one area where parents never want to compromise is when it comes to the safety of their children. Car safety is an important thing for parents to consider and there are many things that can be done to keep kids of all ages safe in vehicles. Continue reading for tips on keeping children safe in and around cars.
Proper Car Seats and Restraints
Kids are always safest when they are riding in the backseat and using the correct restraint for their size and age. This means starting with a rear facing car seat before moving on to a forward facing seat, and then a booster seat, until children are big enough to wear safety belts that properly fit. There are many different options for car seats and restraints that range in style and price.
Rear Facing Car Seat
– A rear facing seat is to be placed in the back seat and never in the front seat. It is best for babies and younger children. While it is important to become familiar with the particular traffic laws where people live, generally rear facing seats should be used at least until the age of two. Many rear facing seats snap into bases that are attached to the car. It is important to make sure that the base and seat are properly secured.
Forward Facing Car Seat
– A forward facing seat is equipped with harness restraints. Children can usually ride in forward facing seats from the ages of approximately two to seven, depending on size.
– Booster seats are meant for children that are too big for forward facing seats and are used until the adult restraints fit properly. Some kids may not be big enough to stop using a booster seat until the age of 12.
– It is recommended that children do not use seatbelts until they can keep their backs against the seat, with bent knees, and feet flat on the floor. Children should not be permitted to put seatbelts behind their backs or under their arms. Even once big enough to use adult safety belts, children should remain back seat riders until at least the age of 12.
– Some vehicles are equipped with LATCH which stands for lower anchors and tethers for children. The LATCH system makes it easier to securely attach car seats. Drivers can consult their owners manual to see if their vehicle has LATCH.
In Car Supervision
When driving, it is important to ensure that kids keep their seatbelts or car seat harnesses on. Power windows can also be dangerous to children who can accidentally trap their fingers or hands. There have even been cases in which adults accidentally trapped a child when closing a window. Children should never be left alone in a car as heatstroke is a serious risk. Children can die quickly in an enclosed car, even in cooler weather, as the temperature inside of a vehicle can rise rapidly.
Look Around the Car
Child safety around cars is just as important as safety in cars. Drivers should make sure they have a complete view of any children in the area before backing out of driveways or parking spots. With high riding trucks and SUVs, it can be especially difficult to spot children that may be close to the vehicle.
Parents who are in the market for a new vehicle should do research and pick a safe ride. Larger, heavier vehicles often provide more protection that smaller, lighter ones but specific information on crashworthiness, crash avoidance, and more is available. Additional information on child safety on the car can be found on the following webpages.
- Keeping Children Safe in and Around Cars
- NHTSA Parent Central – Keeping Kids Safe
- Car and Car Seat Safety for Toddlers
- Keeping Young Children Safe in the Car
- Kids and Cars – Public Awareness Campaigns
- Car Seat Safety for Kids
- Keeping Kids Safe in Cars
- Car Seats Information for Families
- Car Seat Safety for Parents
- Child Passenger Safety – Get the Facts