This summer, many of us will be on the road. Especially if you have children, and school’s out for summer. We have hit prime time for travel. All of the extra time in the car means increased risk for you and your kiddos! Here are some practical safety tips to keep you and your family safe in the car.
Get your car seat safety inspected.
When your car seat is buckled in, it should not move or wiggle more than 1 inch. Every car seat is so different, and it can be difficult to identify some risk factors of its installment. Most police stations will do a car seat safety check for free! There are also many pre-identified experts at safecar.gov. Before you hit the road, make sure you’ve checked this important item off your list.
Use Child Lock features on rear doors.
If your car has child lock available on the rear doors and windows, then you should implement them when traveling with children. Many window systems do not detect blockage when they are rolling up. If a child has control of the features, and can open windows and doors themselves, then risk is increased for injury.
Buckle seat belts (even the unused ones).
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, kids weren’t buckled properly in 32% of car accident deaths. Buckling seatbelts for you and your child is critical to your travel safety.
Additionally, unused seat belts can pose a threat as well. Children playing with additional seatbelts risk strangulation or injury if they are wrapping it around themselves or others. Keep unused seat belts buckled to avoid unnecessary risk.
Maintain driver focus on the road.
Traveling with kids can be challenging, especially over extended distances. It can be very distracting for the driver, especially if you are the only adult in the car. Prepare in advance by bringing adequate entertainment for the kids, or having back-up road trip games to keep their minds occupied. When boredom hits, it’s dangerous for the child (as they begin fiddling with things in the car you cannot see) and the driver (as risk for accident increases).
If chaos does ensue mid-trip, try pulling over and addressing the issue or letting the kids play outside at a rest stop for a minute. This is a better alternative to addressing the issue mid-highway and breaking your focus on keeping your family safe on the road.