Parents know that no matter what you do your children always manage to get into things they aren’t supposed to. That is why childproofing is so important when you have young ones padding around the home. You childproof the cabinets, electrical outlets, staircases, pointy counter edges and everything else a curious child might encounter. Not everyone is so concerned about safety in their car, though.
According to the Institute of Child Health and Human Development, motor vehicle accidents are among the top causes of serious injuries or death for young children. Kids ages five and up are at the greatest risk.
On average, nearly 150 children per day are rushed to emergency rooms because of injuries they’ve sustained in vehicle accidents. The size and safety rating of your vehicle are tertiary factors; the best way to protect your child’s wellbeing is to ensure they’re safe before even leaving the driveway. The best ways to do that are:
Always buckle your children in
Children – and adults – should always wear their seatbelts. This may seem obvious, but not all parents enforce seatbelt rules while driving. Properly belt young children into their car or booster seats and be sure children younger than 12 are safely restrained in the back seat.
Use rear facing car seats for infants
There is some variation among models, but generally infants up to a year old and 20 pounds should always be seated in a rear-facing car seat. Make sure all belts and safety restraints are securely fastened before driving. Never put a rear facing car seat in the passenger seat because airbag deployment could cause serious injury.
Upgrade to safety seats and boosters
As your child grows, they will need new car seats. Kids ranging from five to eight, or roughly 50 to 80 pounds, should upgrade to safety and booster seats. As mentioned before, children ages five and up are at the greatest risk of serious injury in car accidents. Don’t become lax on safety seats as they grow up – this safety equipment makes a major difference.
Follow the provided instructions
As intuitive as car seats may seem, and as mechanically minded as you are, always read the instructions. It defeats the purpose of installing a safety seat if you haven’t properly threaded a safety belt or snapped pieces of the seat in place properly.
Pay attention to recalls
Products aren’t always perfect. Keep your model of car seat in mind and be on the lookout for product recalls and defects. This is a situation where setting up a Google Alert can be a major benefit. Simply enter your product and you will receive an email whenever it is in the news.
Nobody plans to get into a car accident, but everyone should have plan for if they do. Taking these extra steps can help avoid the unthinkable should you find yourself in a collision.
Remember that car safety starts before you even start the engine. You can keep your family healthy and happy by taking an extra 30 seconds to make sure everyone in the car is safely buckled up and strapped in.