As a parent, you want to do everything possible to make sure your children stay protected at all times. This protection is especially important in the car – where children are at a great risk for injury or death without the proper safety precautions.
From car seats to proper seat belt use, there’s a lot of information out there when it comes to your child’s safety. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to ensure that you’re employing all the proper safety procedures while driving with your child.
Below, we’ve put together a list of the essentials in safety while driving with kids – both for you as well as your loved ones.
Car Safety Basics
First and foremost: your car must be safe to operate if you’re transporting your kids! If there are any issues with it, your first line of business is to go to your nearest auto repair shop for a fix.
Car Seat 101
Safe Kids Worldwide has made it easy for you to understand car seat requirements with a top 5 list:
- Correct Seat Type: Check to ensure that the seat is appropriate for your child’s age, height, and weight.
- Correct Location: Children who are 13 or younger should always ride in the back seat.
- Correct Direction: Keep your child in a rear-facing seat as long as you can (typically until around age 2).
- Use the Inch Test: A car seat should not move or wiggle any more than an inch from front to back. Tighten it up if the seat is too loose.
- Use the Pinch Test: When your child is buckled in, pinch the strap which is at shoulder level. If it’s loose, you need to tighten up the straps for optimal safety.
Making the Transition Out of Car Seats
In most cases, your car seat timeline will look like the following:
- Up to Age 2: Rear-Facing Car Seat
- Age 2 to at Least 5: Front-Facing Car Seat
- Age 5 Until Regular Seatbelt Fits: Booster Seat
The transition between a booster seat and a regular seatbelt is often the most confusing step for parents. A seatbelt fits properly when the lap strap lays across your child’s upper thighs instead of his/her stomach and the shoulder strap lays across the chest and not the neck.
Ongoing Responsible Driving
Finally, it’s up to you as the parent to keep your kids protected as the responsible party driving your vehicle. As mentioned, make it a point to visit your local auto repair shop if your car is experiencing any trouble – and for regular inspections. Beyond that, always make sure that you’re driving sober and free from distractions.
Your safe driving is one of the most critical components to child passenger safety. Remember to always be safe – both for your sake and for your children’s lives.