Many parents worry about their kids’ safety on the road, especially when driving in areas with lots of heavy traffic or on long road trips. If you’re responsible for carting around the kids, then you know how stressful it can be to keep them safe while they’re riding in the car.
Whether they’re sitting behind you or buckled up in the passenger seat, there are plenty of ways that children can get hurt or even killed if they’re not being watched properly when you’re driving down the road. Here are some tips you can use to keep your kids safe in cars and prevent car accidents from happening in the first place:
Make Children Wear Seat Belts
Children 12 and under should be secured with a safety belt or appropriate child restraint system. Also, do not allow children under 13 years old to ride in front seats if airbags are available. Always follow local laws regarding age limits for car seats and seat belt use. The safest place for a child is sitting directly back from the driver, secured by a lap-and-shoulder belt properly adjusted according to your car seat manual’s instructions.
Use Booster Seats
If your child is old enough to be sitting unassisted, but still too short to be safe, consider investing in a booster seat. Boosters help position smaller children so that they can see out of windows and use seat belts safely. Your state’s department of motor vehicles should have specific recommendations for when a booster should be used, so check them before making any purchases.
Never Drink Nor Text And Drive
Research has proven that texting while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. It’s easy to assume that because you’re not drinking and driving, it’s okay to send off a few texts while on your way somewhere. But, when you do so, you’re exponentially increasing your risk of an accident. Driving while intoxicated is illegal, so should be texting while driving. And kids who see their parents doing it are more likely to think it is acceptable behavior.
Make Sure Your Airbag is Working
Airbags can save lives, but they must be working properly for you to benefit from them. When your car is ten years old or older, it’s a good idea to have an airbag system inspection performed. If airbags have been deployed in a vehicle, they cannot be reused and need to be replaced before allowing children back into the car. There are sensors within some airbags that determine if they should deploy. When these are worn out, they could end up causing injury instead of preventing it by failing to deploy at all.
No matter how old your kids are, they need a car seat. If you don’t have one yet, check out your auto insurance company—they’ll often cover part or all of a new car seat, if you already have coverage. Some companies will also give discounts for multiple cars and additional kids, so ask about that when you call. You may also want to see what kind of discount they offer for safe driving; encouraging good habits now can prevent bigger problems later. However, no matter who gives it to you, ensure that your child is secured with a five-point harness belt every time he gets into his seat!
Practice Braking Exercises
Every year, children under 12 are killed in auto accidents. For kids, especially young ones, it’s not enough to just buckle up and take off when you’re driving. They also need an understanding of safety measures on road trips. Talk with your child about what to do if there’s a car accident. Discuss the precautions when riding in cars, such as buckling up every time and keeping both hands on their lap at all times. You might think some of these ideas are obvious, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Have a Lawyer’s Contact
In worst-case scenarios, it may be necessary to contact a lawyer and seek legal advice. If your child is seriously injured, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you receive monetary compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other expenses. They can also assist with getting your insurance claim quickly and fairly resolved. When selecting an accident lawyer, make sure they have experience handling car accident claims.
Children are precious, and keeping them safe is a responsibility that parents take very seriously. If you have small children, remember these tips when it comes time to drive with them. By following them every time you or your child gets into a car, they’ll help keep your children safe as they learn to drive and gain valuable experience behind the wheel.