Child Safety in Your Vehicle: Caring for Our Little Passengersby KC Martin Automotive on 02/07/19
We depend on our cars now more than ever, and in our area, there are more drivers on the road now than ever, as our population has risen. There are certainly no shortage of hazardous situations on the road, and we must continue to focus on driving safely and defensively. We also must look into the specific safety measures required to protect our littlest passengers. Injuries from automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of death in children and babies. Often times, the magnitude of these injuries can be lessened and dangers more easily averted with proper preparation for the little ones.
Accidents do happen, even when you are doing everything you can behind the wheel, but we can take special precautions to help our child passengers to be safer in our cars. Many of the tips below concern their properly handled car seat setup, but all of these tips may help you keep your little ones safer while riding in your vehicle:
1) Infants car seats should always face backward. A rear-facing car seat should be utilized until your child is beyond one year old AND weighs over twenty pounds. Make sure to check your car seats specifications as well. Some car seats can remain rear-facing for much longer and that may fit your situation better.
2) Make sure your infant car seat is installed properly. If you aren't sure and you have questions about installing your car seat, double check your owner's manual. There are usually some common mistakes that they will have you double check to avoid.
3) Always use the appropriate sized car seat or booster seat. Remember that kids still need to be in a booster seat up to about 57 inches tall and 80 pounds in weight.
4) Ensure the seat belt is securely buckled. Seat belts save lives of both children and adults. Many times everything else is in place, but the buckle is not properly "clicked" into place, and the straps are not tightened enough for ultimate safety. Always give these one last "tug" before being sure that your child is safe.
5) Children should always ride in the backseat--not the front seat. Kids should be kept out of the front seat until they are about least thirteen years old. Bad things can happen in the front, because the space was not designed with them in mind. They may be thrown into the windshield or onto the dashboard in the event of a collision, and the force of the air bag inflating can be too harsh and go from a safety device to a hazard for children.
6) Check the expiration date on the car seat or booster seat. Every seat will have an expiration date, and that is because the material can start to wear over time. If the seat is expired, do not use it---you cannot ensure that it will work optimally. Also, if a car seat has been through any kind of collision, it is also no longer safe to use.
Children are some of our most precious cargo. We have to do extra work to help protect them and get them into secure habits when riding in our cars, because they lack the ability to care for their own safety. KC Martin is glad to help provide this information, and if you need more info, please visit the NHTSA's website info on car seats and child safety.