Parents and/or drivers must make sure that kids are well protected in case there is an accident. Child car restrains work in two ways. They make sure that children cannot move around the automobile while it is in motion. And they make sure that they are protected from injuries as much as possible in case of a crash.
Driving always requires care and attention to avoid causing accidents that will injure yourself and others. Certain rules must be followed when driving with passengers. Adult passengers can distract the driver by constantly talking to and criticizing drivers. Children may seek attention and get rowdy when you are driving a vehicle. Here are some guidelines to ensure safe travel with children.
Things to Know about Driving with Kids
Safety should be the first thing in your mind when you start driving. This is extra important when you are transporting children. Don’t forget that you are morally and legally responsible for them as a parent (babysitter or family member) and driver. Here are a few things you should know.
Child Seats Save Lives: Traffic related accidents are the #1 killer of school aged kids and not far behind for other ages. Researches show that children’s crash survival chances are almost doubled if they are in a properly installed/used protective car seat. Unfortunately, surveys and checks show that more than 70% of car seats aren’t installed or used correctly. This is a very important issue that deserves careful attention.
Follow Child Safety Laws: Every state has child safety laws that must be followed. It is up to parents or legal guardians to make sure their cars are equipped to carry the kids according to their age and size. Drivers can be fined or taken to court if they fail to observe these laws. These laws usually go well beyond just child seats and include things like leaving children unattended in the vehicles.
Never Get Distracted: You shouldn’t be occupied with other things like cell phones, eating, drinking or feeding the children. You should also consider children’s comfort to make sure that they will have a pleasant journey and bother you as little as possible.
Teach your Kids: Make sure that kids understand the importance of sitting in their safety seats. They should also enjoy the journey. Find ways to keep them happy and deal with their tantrum.
Resources to Help Kids Get Used to Car Safety Seats
Know How to Use Car Seats
Laws require use of appropriate safety seats because they protect children. The age and size of children is key to choosing the right seat. You should also make sure that they are fitted to automobiles correctly. You should check fitting instructions and auto manuals to make sure they are secured correctly. Here are a few basic rules to fitting the seats in vehicles.
- They should be installed in the back seat no matter what type of safety seat you use. Most modern automobiles come with elaborate front and side airbags for front seats that can hurt children in accidents. If you want to put babies in the front passenger seat you must make sure that you don’t have side airbags and the seat is pushed back as far as possible. You may be able to consult a child seat installation clinic at your local hospital or fire department for further advises and assistance.
- Baby safety seats should always face towards the back of the vehicle. The rear-facing seats protect a baby’s fragile neck and head in case of a crash.
- Always make sure that child safety seats are fitted properly first on the seat of your automobile. Then, make sure that all the belts and clips are done properly. The harness straps should fit snugly but not too tight. When they are loose they cannot function effectively and children may wiggle out of them. Consider the clothing when you are tightening them as puffy clothes may prevent you from judging their tightness properly.
- Kids need to ride in safety seats until they are about 13 years old or 4’ 9” tall. Until then you will need to adjust the seats or use booster seats with regular seatbelts.
- Usually, car seats get less protective for children as you go to the next one up. Therefore, you should try to keep your child in the most protective seat as long as you can and don’t rush to get the next one up. Especially, you should try to keep the babies in the “rear-facing infant seats” as long as possible.
Car Safety Seat Resources
Child Safety Seat Fitting and Inspection
Types of Car Safety Seats:
Rear-facing infant seats: Infants must have proper head and neck support with a rear-facing infant seat. Usually they are used for infants up to age 2, or until they reach the weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer, usually 22 to 35 pounds.
Convertible safety seats: These face either backward or forward and are for toddlers between ages 2 and 4, and for those who weigh between 30 and 40 pounds and who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car safety seat.
Booster seats: Kids who have outgrown their convertible seats but aren’t tall enough to use car belts alone should be supported with a booster seat. They are usually transitional seats. They are for children usually between 8 and 12 years old, who are shorter than 4 feet, 9 inches. Adult seatbelts aren’t designed to provide enough restrain for children. If a booster seat isn’t used, youngsters may suffer injuries to the intestines, spleen, liver, and spinal cord in a crash.
Combination child seat/booster seats (three-in-one): These can be used with an internal harness until your child weighs 40 pounds (some seats allow harness use to 50 pounds) and then made into a belt-positioning booster seat by removing the internal harness.
Lap and shoulder belts: Children ages 8 and older or who weigh more than 80 pounds and are about 4 feet, 9 inches tall should use lap and shoulder belts. The lap belt should stay low and snug across the hips without riding up over the stomach, and the shoulder belt shouldn’t cross at the neck.
Resources for Choosing the Right Child Seat
Other Tips and Rules
Drivers are responsible for the well being of their passengers regardless of their age. But this responsibility is heightened when you are dealing with kids. However, you should take charge and set rules instead of going with the flow. Here are some of the rules and tips to implement:
- Seatbelts and safety seats save lives there is no doubt about it. Buckling up is very important for an adult but it is crucially important for a child. Their delicate bodies would suffer serious injuries if they weren’t properly buckled. Safety seats can reduce injuries and death by as much as seventy percent.
- Kids should always sit at the back. They should know that it is dangerous for them to be sitting at the front. They should know this is not something that is open for negotiations.
- They should never play with their seatbelts. It is important that they are secured properly and remain the same throughout the journey. If you don’t watch out they could easily wiggle out of it.
- Never take a kid for a ride without safety seats even for a short time.
- Stay in control and don’t get distracted by a crying kid. Don’t try to multi-task. Stop if you have to and deal with the issues then.
- You must always buckle up yourself and set a good example.
- Remember that children have a better chance of surviving an accident if they are properly buckled up. Your child may be complaining about it but you shouldn’t give in as it is all for their safety.
- Always make sure that your car seat is up to standards. It is one thing you shouldn’t try to get it cheap. Also, it should be the right one for the age and size of your kid.
- Getting caught driving while there is an unrestrained child in the vehicle can put you in serious trouble with the law. Not only you may be fined but also may be charged with child endangerment.
- It may seem to be a good idea to take the child out of his/her seat for a moment to comfort while the auto is still moving. Quite a few mothers do this. However, you should always stop first to take the baby out and place it back before you are on the road again.