It goes without saying that driving with kids in a car requires following all safety rules and recommendations. Failing to conform even to some of the official safety recommendations can lead to devastating consequences, so checking and updating your knowledge of the essential safety rules is necessary for keeping your kids safe and sound. Here are some of the best tips.
Always Buckle Up Your Kids
Unfortunately, this essential rule gets ignored by a lot of parents. According to the statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the children ages 12 years or younger who died in a car crash in 2015, 35 percent weren’t buckled up. Moreover, the same source also has evidence that over 618,000 children of the same ages rode in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat or a seat belt.
Seat belts save lives, period. Never underestimate the importance of buckling up or using a seatbelt.
- Read seat manual to make sure that you’ve installed it properly
- Place the child seat in the central part of the backseat. It’s considered the safest position for children.
Never Leave Your Kid Alone in the Vehicle
Leaving kids in a car “is an absolute no-no,” WebMD quoted Christopher McStay, MD, an emergency room doctor at the New York University, as saying. “Your car is a greenhouse and temperatures can get exceedingly hot in an exceedingly short period of time.”
In other words, there’s no safe amount of time that your kid may be safe when left alone in the car, even with the window down. Just several minutes can be a life-threatening experience.
- Use “the teddy bear defense” to ensure that your kid is never alone in your car. This technique involves placing a large stuffed animal in the back seat when the kid is not in the car and moving it to the front seat when the kid is inside. The toy will play the role of a visible reminder that your kid is in the back seat.
Watch the Temperature
As a driver, you know that a car’s interior can get very hot; in fact, experts say says that the temperature inside a car can increase by almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within ten minutes.
That’s why you should never leave the child alone in your car to protect them from overheating. Kids are especially vulnerable because they lose fluid quickly, therefore are at an increased risk of experiencing a potentially life-threatening stroke.
Think about purchasing a car thermometer or an app for your smartphone so you know the temperature.
- Never rely on leaving the window open. This trick has a minimal effect on decreasing the internal temperature of a vehicle.
Avoid Belting your Child in With Winter Clothing
Some parents belt their children in place in their typical winter clothing, which is a mistake. This bulky clothing tends to compress after the child has been in the seat for a while, thus leaving room between the child and the belts. When the unthinkable happens, this could increase the risk of injury and even death because the belts won’t be as effective as they can be.
- Instead of buckling up your child in their winter clothing, stick a coat or a blanket over them while you ride.
- Keep your child safe in your car by following these essential rules. Also, check out the recommendations of your local road safety authority to know some additional recommendations from experts.
Teach Your Kids Road Rules
Riding with your children is an excellent opportunity to teach them about road rules (of course if they’re old enough to understand them). For example, you can teach them about the meaning of the red and green signals, pedestrian signals such as the icon of a person walking, and basic traffic signs.
When you stop at the intersection, show them how other people cross it. This way, you’ll be able to teach them that the road should only be crossed at special sections and specific times.
Another important lesson is to never stick hands outside the car. Some children tend to put their hands or even heads out when the vehicle is moving, which is a bad idea because they can be hit by other vehicles.
- Play road sign scavenger hunt or create a game that includes typical road signs and have kids finding them on the road as you ride.
Lucy Benton is a writing coach, an editor who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger and currently provides online assignment help. She is constantly looking for the ways to improve her skills and expertise.