When driving around with children inside your vehicle, there are many extra precautions you should take to ensure their safety.
The most obvious one that comes to mind for many are seat belts. But are you sure your child passenger is using the safest car seat for his/her body weight, age, etc.? Many car seats are not used or installed correctly. We recommend checking online for instruction guides on what your child requires. This goes for other children that may be riding in your car, every child should bring their car seat with them when riding in other cars. According to NHTSA, “a child in a correctly used safety seat in the back seat of a car is 73% less likely to be hospitalized than an unrestrained child in the front seat.” With that said, children under the age of 12 should always sit in the rear of the car.
Look before you leave! With the weather getting warmer we need to remind ourselves to not leave children and pets in hot cars, but every summer there are horrific stories of caregivers doing just that. These three tips can help remind you of child or pet passengers in your vehicle. The first is to look before you lock. Before locking your car, check all the seating positions and make sure no one else is in there. Don’t check from the drivers seat where your view of the backseat can be obstructed, get out of the vehicle and look through the windows. You could also use the teddy bear defense. Place a large stuffed animal in your child’s car seat. When you put your child in the car seat, place the stuffed animal in the passenger seat. After you remove the child from the car seat, put the toy back. The stuffed animal acts as a reminder: If it’s in the front seat, your child is in the car. And lastly, having someone hold you accountable can save lives. Many children who are left in hot cars where supposed to be dropped off at daycare, but their parents forgot and left their child in the car while they went to work. Have an agreement with your daycare provider to call if your child isn’t dropped off by a certain time. Getting that call can mean getting your child before it’s too late.