Things change significantly when you have a child. And, because there is so much responsibility that comes with being a parent, there can be lots of worry too. Driving can be a scary thing for parents. With precious cargo on board, it’s time to think about child passenger safety and to make a plan to keep your kids out of harm’s way while on the open road.
1.Never Leave a Child Unattended in a Car
According to the Department of Meteorology & Climate Science at San Jose State University, there have been 39 child heatstroke deaths in the United States so far this year. Since 1998, that same study reports that 700 children have died after being left in hot cars. That number is absolutely devastating, especially considering most of those deaths could have been avoided. It is important that you never leave a child unattended in your vehicle, even if only for a minute. Arizona’s harsh summers see temperatures that soar into triple digits on many afternoons which means that the inside of a hot car can be deadly in a matter of minutes.
2.Use a Car Seat, Every Single Time
Even if it’s just a short trip, kids car seat rules must always be enforced. Young children belong in a car seat or booster seat every trip, every time. There is never an excuse not to practice car seat safety because the risk is too great. Car seats are the safest place for children in the event of a crash because they provide the most protection. Lap riding for small children is not acceptable and puts all riders at a greater risk. Remember: no car seat, no ride.
3.The Right Seat For The Right Age
It’s not just important that kids use a car seat, it’s important they use the right car seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a great place to visit for car seat recommendations. You can find those tips here. The type of car seat recommended for parents, whether it’s front-facing, rear-facing or a booster seat, depends on the age and weight of the child. It’s important to do your research on what type of car seat is right for your child at every age.
4.Keep the Kids In The Back
Even when kids are no longer in need of a booster seat, the back seat is still the safest place for them to sit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that kids should remain in the back seat until the age of 12. Front air bags can be dangerous and even deadly for young children so this is another rule that must be enforced at all times.
5.Keys In Hand At All Times
Any time your child is in the car, it’s a good rule of thumb to always keep your keys in hand, even if the car is stopped. It might be tempting to keep the keys in the ignition while you load or unload the car, but it can be dangerous to leave the car on, unattended with your children inside. A car or truck is a very powerful machine and the only one who should have the keys to that machine is you.
The road can be a scary place for parents, especially because you can’t control other drivers. But, if you take the time to follow these tips, you can rest assured knowing that you are making your vehicle the safest place for you and your family.