Keeping kiddos safe during a car ride is any parent’s primary concern. Researchers have discovered that nearly one in three children killed in car accidents in 2011 were not buckled in correctly.
To make sure your child is as safe as can be in the car, car seat safety is the first step along a road of car safety habits that should last into adulthood.
Don’t Go Too Fast!
Don’t just keep your driving at the speed limit, also don’t move your child along car seat milestones too quickly.
Babies should begin their car seat experiences facing backward, from infancy to about two years old, or until they become height and weight appropriate for a forward-facing car seat. One of the most cited problems with car seat safety is people turning the seat to face forward too early in a child’s development.
Another milestone parents try to hit too soon is the removal of the booster seat element of the car seat. This means a child does not yet fit the seat belt properly, leading to safety disasters.
The mistake is common among carpooling parents when they see other children removed from the booster seat and endure pressure from the children to be a “big kid.” Seat belts are designed for adults who are 4 feet 9 inches tall or above. Many children might not reach this height until they are 10 or even 12 years old.
Finally, and this is a big one, parents commonly allow their children to ride in the front seat before it is legally safe. Guidelines dictate that children under the age of 13 should not ride in the front seat, no matter how they might complain or how much fun you think it would be to have your child in the front with you.
While using car seats and boosters, it is of utmost importance to install the seat correctly, or else it won’t adhere to the safety standards you bought it for in the first place!
If the seat belt is too loose, or the harness is not fitted correctly across your child, this might increase the chances of larger crash forces in case of an accident. Incorrectly installed or loose harnesses around could cause your child to slip from the harness altogether during a big impact.
Picking the Right Seat for Your Child
Each child is different, and in more ways than just their personalities. Height, weight, age, and type of vehicle all factor into the car seat decision. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a guide for choosing the right model for your family, as well as statistics on car safety.
Lax Car Seat Rules
Car seats are clunky, annoying, and hard to travel with. Becoming too cavalier about when to bring it along and when to let it go, however, leaves room for mistakes every time it is left behind.
If you don’t bring the car seat on vacation, either you or your child will become used to no car seat being a norm and will have trouble getting back to the habit when returning home.
The same goes for carpooling. In a different family’s car, always provide the car seat for your child, so they don’t equate new cars with lax safety.
Children learn from their parents, so your own behavior in the car models how important safety is. Always wear your own seatbelt, and show this good habit to your kids from babies through childhood. As they grow into adulthood, they will fasten up automatically, just like you.
Knock on Wood
Should you or your loved one ever have the misfortunate of a car accident, hopefully everyone, especially the little ones, was buckled in and no one got hurt. When you’ve recovered, our family-owned repair shop will make you feel right at home and reduce the stress of fixing up your vehicle. Contact Dillon’s Automotive today at 281-395-1100, or request a service online.