Car safety is especially important for children. Car crashes and car-related accidents are the leading cause of death in children under the age of 14. Parents can do many things to ensure their car is a safe place for kids of all ages.
Seat Belts and Car Seats
Many children like to avoid putting on their seat belts. It makes sense because most seat belts are not designed with kids in mind. They often feel uncomfortable and restrictive. Parents should always strictly reinforce wearing seat belts until it becomes a habit. Most modern cars are equipped with passenger side seat belt sensors that will give a warning if a seat belt is not fastened properly. Fewer cars have these sensors in the back seat, but it is just as critical that kids wear seat belts no matter if they are sitting in the front or the rear.
If your child is especially uncomfortable or sensitive to their seat belt, try making some adjustments to the belt so it is more comfortable. You may be able to add an attachable pad to the shoulder strap to improve comfort.
Wearing half a seatbelt is almost as dangerous as wearing no seatbelt at all. A seatbelt is designed to function with both the lap and shoulder belts working together. Many kids who find seatbelts uncomfortable or restrictive will remove the shoulder belt by flipping it behind them, leaving only the lap belt to hold them in place. This is enough to keep the child from being ejected in a serious collision, but it is not enough to keep them safe. A child or teen wearing only a lap belt may suffer serious whiplash or a concussion when they strike their head on the dash or seat. There will also be considerably more strain applied to the waist. This could lead to severe bruising or cuts and bleeding. In serious crashes, it may even be enough to cause dangerous internal injuries.
Young children should always be kept in car seats, and these car seats should always be placed in the back row of seats. Ensure that a car seat is properly anchored to the seat and that the child is properly strapped in. Car seats are also not just for infants and toddlers. Many school-aged children still belong in car seats. Height is the primary determining factor.
Teach Kids About Car Safety
Parents should always reinforce car safety knowledge and behavior in kids. This means keeping doors closed and not putting arms or heads out the windows. Children should also be taught how to be good passengers. Many distracted driving accidents happen because children were distracting parents. Children should be taught proper car behavior to limit distractions.
Car safety is also important outside the car. Many children are killed in parking lots or are hit accidentally by members of their own family because they were playing around cars. Children should never be allowed to play around cars or in parking lots. They should always be watching for cars, especially when they are getting into or out of their car.
Keeping kids safe in your car also means keeping the car safe to drive. It is important that your family car remain properly maintained and repaired. Knowing a repair and maintenance specialist, like those at this auto body repair in Park City, you trust is an important step. You are literally trusting these professionals with your kids' lives every time they are in the car, so it is important to choose the best professional.
Avoiding Heat Stroke
Young children are especially vulnerable to heat stroke and heat-related injuries. Their bodies do not regulate temperate as efficiently as an adult’s. A child can severely overheat in a car in just a few minutes, and many children die in this situation. Children should never be locked in a car that is completely closed. If children are in the car, leave the windows rolled at least halfway down or the doors open. There are safety concerns here as well, so the best policy is to always take your kid with you when you must leave the vehicle. A little added hassle is well worth their life.
Car-related heat stroke can occur in children in surprisingly low temperatures. Cars are natural heat traps because sunlight penetrates windows and heats the interior air, but the heat cannot escape the enclosed space fast enough. It is sunlight, not ambient outside heat, which heats a car.
It is possible to keep your child safe in and around the car by following these simple steps and taking some extra precautions. The vast majority of child-related deaths in cars are entirely preventable and easy to remember.