School run time has returned for millions of mothers and fathers. It’s something we all take for granted. However, car safety is an important and often overlooked aspect of our everyday lives and ensuring your children are strapped in correctly and you are doing the very upmost to ensure safety when doing the school run is pivotal. So, here are some tips to ensure school run safety.
9 Tips for Better School Run Safety
One of the most important things you can do when taking your children in the car is to make sure they are restrained properly. This means selecting a car seat or booster that is right for the child’s weight, height and age. In addition, as your child gets older, the car seat/booster they were using previously will not be sufficient anymore.
Rear-Facing Car Seats
Very young children, those that fall into the infant or toddler category, should be placed in a rear-facing car seat. This is because their neck muscles are not that strong and their head size is disproportionate to their body size. If the car were to be in an accident, the rear-facing car seat helps to protect the baby’s head and spine. Experts recommend that a child remain in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least two years old. As long as it is appropriate for their weight and height, you should try and leave a child rear-facing for as long as possible, however.
Forward-Facing Car Seats
When a child is ready to move on from their rear-facing car seat, they will transition into a forward-facing car seat. They should stay in this car seat until their height and weight meets the maximum limit set by the manufacturer.
A child is normally ready to transition to a booster seat when they are eight years old. However, do not use age as the only guide. Height and weight are very important when determining whether a child is ready to take this step. Booster seats are helpful because they make sure that the seat belt fits across the child’s chest and hips the way it is supposed to. Without a booster, the seat belt might rest on a dangerous part of the child’s body, like close to the neck. Most children are ready to move out of the booster when they are nearly teenagers. Again, though, taking weight and height into consideration is crucial when making this decision.
Location in the Vehicle
Certain seats are safer than others. When putting a car seat or booster in the car, opt for the back middle seat whenever possible. In the event of a crash, the child is located as far from the windows and doors as possible. In addition, there is no chance that the airbag will hit them. Still, only put a car seat or booster in the middle seat if it fits properly. If the middle seat is not an option, put the child anywhere in the back. Never allow a child under the age of 13 to sit up front.
When driving, your eyes are supposed to be on the road in front of you. This means that you can’t look at your children to make sure they are being safe in the back seat. That said, child locks on doors and windows are important so that children cannot open them while you are driving.
Always Take Children Out Of the Car with You
Do not leave your children in the car for any length of time without you. Cars get hot very quickly; even if the outside temperature is not that extreme, the interior of the vehicle could warm up to a dangerous level. Also, the temperature goes up quickly, as the car functions like an oven. It is also not an option to leave a window open or to crack a door, because someone could gain access to the vehicle and your children. Also, some children might be able to get out of the car and get lost. Finally, leaving the car on is also not an acceptable strategy. Even young children might be able switch the car from “parked” to “drive.” Therefore, if you are exiting the vehicle, your children need to get out with you, even if you are only going to be gone for a few minutes.
Choose Your Vehicle Wisely
When buying a car, make sure to investigate its safety rating. While there are certain standards that all vehicles must uphold, some cars are safer than others. The price does not necessarily indicate how safe the vehicle is either, so you must do your research before you sign on the dotted line. If you are looking for more information on a particular make and model of a car, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a great resource. Navigate to safercar.gov to find NHTSA safety ratings.
Be Safe On the Road
While it is crucial to properly restrain your child in your vehicle, and it is also important to pick out a reliable car, there is more you can do to ensure your child’s safety on the road. Do not allow anything to distract you while you are in your vehicle. Obey the speed limit and other traffic laws. Keep your cool, even if another driver is doing something that they should not be doing. If you are concerned that your driving skills may be rusty, think about signing up for a defensive driving class. These are even available on the Internet, so you can complete them on your own time!
If you are involved in a car accident, see a medical professional if necessary. Sometimes you might not be aware of just how serious an injury is until after the fact. Always get your children checked out if you have concerns.
These tips will ensure a safer school run and will help to greatly limit chances of injury if the worst occurs.