Six Tips for Keeping Your Kids Safe in the Car You Might Not Have Thought Of
Keeping children safe in cars is an instinct as natural as breathing for parents and caregivers alike — you likely make sure everyone is buckled up or that car seats are correctly installed before getting behind the wheel. But protecting kids on the road goes beyond belts, buckles and maintaining a safe speed limit while driving.
1. Lock your car when it’s not in use to keep it off-limits as a playpen. In a child’s eyes, an empty car can look like a big, fun toy to play in. After all, turning a steering wheel, pushing buttons and pretending to drive like an adult is incredibly appealing to little ones who are always being told what to do! Take note: Holding them in your lap while in the driver’s seat — even if the car isn’t running — increases the risk of enticing children to “play car,” which could lead to potentially harmful outcomes.
Locking your car when you arrive at your destination also reduces the risk of kids getting locked in the car and overheating, accidentally shifting the car into gear and crashing, or getting tiny fingers caught in windows and doors.
2. Kids belong in the back seat. If they’re younger than 13, your passengers must sit in the back. Front seat belts are built for adults and can injure kids in an accident or even a sudden stop.
3. If there’s fighting or crying in the back seat, pull over instead of looking behind you. If kids are in distress, it’s an automatic impulse to just turn to the back seat — but that can cause a wreck if your eyes aren’t focused on the road. Navigate to a parking lot or side street so you can deal with the situation safely.
4. Double check before backing up. Little kids are known to dart away from their caregivers —and that can too often mean they go behind or near the rear of your car. Roll down your windows to hear more clearly, and don’t rely solely on the rear camera to alert you to possible danger.
On the flip side, teach your children to be more alert when they’re around vehicles!
5. Before getting out of the car, look behind you. Sometimes, mentally juggling the crush of daily life and a never-ending list of things to do can make you forget you have a quiet or sleeping child in the back seat. To avoid unnecessary tragedy or trauma, make it a habit to look in the back seat before you exit your vehicle.
6. Get your kids in the habit of waiting for you to get out of the vehicle when you’ve reached a destination. This reduces the chance of their darting out of the car and into traffic, especially if you’re parallel parked or in a busy parking lot.
Safety guidelines are not intended to be all inclusive, but are provided for your consideration. Please use your own judgment to determine what safety features/procedures should be used in each unique situation.
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