Keeping Your Child Safe in Your Car
As our automobiles become even more essential parts of daily lives, children are spending more time than ever in vehicles. Unfortunately, in accidents, children can be seriously injured due to a lack of knowledge on how to keep them safe. As a busy parent, you never want to compromise on the safety of your children. Let’s have a look at some ways we can keep our children safe in our cars.
Some key tips that we’ll cover include:
- Young children (i.e. less than 13 years old) should be in the back seat.
- Use child and age appropriate restraints.
- Read the instructions for installation.
- Never leave your children unattended whether in or around vehicles.
Using Proper Safety Restraints
Your children’s safest spot in the car is in the back seat using the right type of restraint for their size and age. Three types of restraints that are commonly used are:
- Rear-facing child restraint
- Front-facing child restraint
- Booster seats
Rear-facing child restraints securely installed in the back seat is ideal for infants and young children until at least 2 years old. Rear-facing restraints should never be placed in the front seat, especially if the car is equipped with airbags. Young children should ideally be kept rear-facing as long as possible until they outgrow the restraint’s limits (Check your owner’s manual). For the best protection, ensure that the restraint is installed as specified into your vehicle and are tightly secured. The harness should be slotted safely through any available slots and should be comfortable and snug with the chest clip at chest or armpit level.
Forward-facing child restraints can be used for children who are about 2 to about 7 years old. As with the rear-facing child restraints, ensure that the restraint is securely fastened and that the harness is installed as instructed.
Lastly, booster seats are used for children who are two big for child restraints but not yet big enough that adult belts fit them well. To pick a good booster seat, the shoulder belt should fit snugly over the centre of the shoulder. The belt should not go across the neck or the face and should not be slipping off the shoulder. The lap belt should lie snugly across the upper thighs and not across the tummy.
Remember that once your children can use adult safety belts, they should be used properly. Belts should not be behind shoulders or arms where they provide zero protection. Older children should ride in the back restrained and should be taught the importance of safety belts from a young age.
Never Leave Children Unattended Around Cars
If you have kids around, never back out of your driveway or parking spot without first checking on where they are. Make sure you have full view of them at all times! If necessary, roll down windows to be able to hear them better. Many children are at risk of being killed from being backed over because they are difficult to spot when very close to the back of your vehicle.
Make it a rule that seatbelts are not to be unbuckled when the vehicle is moving and that the vehicle doesn’t move until everyone is buckled in and sitting up.
Be careful with power windows, especially with curious children in the backseat. Kids may accidentally trigger windows and trap arms, fingers, or even their head. When you are rolling up the window, be careful that your child’s limbs are nowhere close too.
Be aware of where your child is especially if they’re in the back seat! Leaving a child in a closed car, even in cool weather, can quickly lead to death. Temperatures in your car can rise as much as 6C or more in just 10 minutes. Always check the back seat and keep your car doors locked so children can’t get locked in accidentally.
There we go, some tips to keep your kids safe when driving. Safe driving and good day!