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How to Keep Your Children Safe While Driving

Mom putting kid on a car seat - Keeping Children Safe While Driving
Shelly Cochran
Shelly Cochran
February 18, 2022

Whether it is just a quick trip across town, a day trip to the beach, or a vacation that takes you a few states away, knowing how to keep your child safe while driving is critical to protect them if there is a car accident, since it is virtually impossible to guarantee an accident-free trip, it makes sense to plan and work on keeping youngsters safe in case there is a crash.

Car Seats are Necessary

Kids carseat

It is so tempting to let Junior play in the backseat rather than going through the ritual of buckling them in for just a quick trip. However, plenty of laws govern the use of car seats for children. Also, remember that when you train a youngster to sit in a chair with a seatbelt early on, there will be fewer struggles as they get older.

Buy the Right Car Seat

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has put together some basic car seat recommendations (PDF).

  1. Age-appropriate: There are different seats for a child as they grow. A seat that is right for a toddler is not necessarily the best choice when the child grows. Some seats are marketed as “3-in-1” or “convertible.” Because they have increased weight and height limits, you can use them for a couple of age stages.
  2. Properly installed: There is only one right way to install a car seat. However, there are many wrong ways to put it into your car. Your local police or fire department will gladly have an officer accompany you into the parking lot to check that your car seat is installed correctly.
  3. Used by the child: As the child gets older, they will undoubtedly notice that some of their friends no longer use a car seat. This conversation often occurs when they are using a booster seat. Playing the parent card and insisting that they continue to use the seat is the right option here.

Even when they are too old for a booster seat, remember that sitting in the back seat until they are at least 12 years old is the safest option for a child when riding with you in the car.

Avoid the Quick Workarounds

Mom seating kid on a car seat

Some people were looking for a workaround because the seat didn't fit properly. Some use books or pillows to help the child fit into the seat. Others place the seat in a spot that only offers lap belts. Neither of these are acceptable solutions.

It is easy for kids to wear down a tired parent. And you are just driving across town. Do not give in to this temptation! Make it a rule that the car does not move until all occupants are properly buckled in. Yes, it might mean that you are late. Also, the kids may complain and whine. Stay strong!

Register Any Car Seat

After buying a car seat, register it with the company. It allows the manufacturer to reach out with recall information or safety updates. While it does not happen often, you need to know whether a product turns out to have some problems that were not apparent when you bought it.

Transition to Seat Belt Safety

Girl using seatbelt

When the time comes that the child moves out of a booster seat and relies on a seat belt only, there is a whole new set of considerations.

  1. Proper fit: Help the youngster wear a seat belt the right way. This refers to the belt being snug across the chest. However, it should never go across the neck or stomach.
  2. Independent use: Teach the child how to adjust a seat belt. By doing this, they will remain safe when riding in a different car and not just the one already set up for their height.
  3. Routine development: Help the youngster to develop a routine. Make the seat belt click the first thing they do after sitting down and closing the door.

Learning how to keep your child safe while driving is a significant step toward having fun outings where everyone arrives safely at the destination. Although you cannot control what other drivers do if you are involved in an accident, be sure to seek the advice of a specialized auto accident attorney to discuss what you need to get the maximum possible compensation from insurance companies.  Sign up here for a free consultation.

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