When it comes to the safety of your children, nothing is more important than safety in the car and car seat. Accidents happen every day, and without proper restraints and precautions, the impact from a motor vehicle crash can cause serious harm to your child. This doesn’t only apply to infants but teens, too. Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death in teenagers in the United States. September is Baby Safety Month so we will be devoting a lot of time to this and other topics. Today, we will be discussing what you can do to protect yourself and your kids when you get behind the wheel.
So, what’s the deal with car seats?
We all know that properly restraining your child while in the car can keep them out of harm’s way, but there is so much to know.
First, your car seat should grow with your baby. There are four types of car seats needed; rear facing infant, front facing toddler, high back, and a booster seat for older kids. Overwhelmed already? You don’t necessarily need to get one car seat that converts to all four but it is likely you will need all of these types of seats as your child grows. As their height and weight change the way they sit in the car changes too. This is why there is a need for different car seat types.
Second, a lot of people don’t know to do this, but you can register your car seat to get recall notices. You don’t want to have to hear about a dangerous recall on your infant’s car seat through the news or word of mouth. Get recalls right to your inbox. This way you can correct the problem immediately and prevent any possible danger to your child.
Third, believe it or not, your child should use a booster seat until around age 12, or until they are big enough that the seat belt fits them properly. Most child safety organizations say that if they’re taller than 4-feet-9-inches they no longer need a booster seat. Make sure your child meets specific height and weight requirements before forgoing the car seat.
Fourth, it might not be a bad idea to have an extra car seat for a backup in case of emergency. Things break at the worst time. Running late to a family event? If the buckle on the car seat breaks you’re in big trouble. Having an extra one laying around, even if it’s one you bought for cheap at a local resale store, will save you a lot of headaches.
Fifth, if you are unsure how to get the car seat in the car properly, visit to your local police or fire department; they will help you. Safety personnel are trained to do this and they may even be able to give you additional valuable safety information. Also, you should have the car seat installed a few weeks before baby arrives. You never know when you will go in to labor, so it’s always good to be prepared.
A few car safety rules…
No young children in the front seat. They’re too small, and if there’s an accident and the air bags deploy, they can be severely injured. The back seat is the safest place for kids.
Seat belts are a must – even in the back seat. A lot of states, such as Michigan, don’t require seat belts to be worn while riding in the back seat if you’re over 16. Frankly, this law is stupid and dangerous. Safety belts should be worn at all times. Safety belts save lives.
…and rules for your teenage driver
Turning the right age to drive — 16 years in many, but not all, states — is a big deal. They are getting their license, maybe getting a car, but teenage drivers can be very dangerous. It is important that you set some rules to ensure your teen driver is safe and responsible behind the wheel before handing over the keys.
- No loud music. A lot of kids wants to blast the music as they cruise down the street in their first car, but blaring music prevents them from hearing important things, such as an ambulance or another car. Sometimes another driver may need to let out a honk to alert a car that they are there. If the music is too loud that warning may not be heard causing an accident to occur.
- No cell phones while driving, even hands-free. Chatting on the phone can cause a distraction. If there’s an emergency and they need to make a call, they should pull over until they are off the phone.
- Only one friend in the car at first. The more people in the car, the more potential for distraction. Set a rule that until you feel they are ready there can only be one person in the car with them at a time. Some states already have provisional licenses that restrict the number of people in the car. Check your state’s laws.
Hopefully you found these car seat and car safety tips and tricks to be helpful.