26 Safety Tips To Keep Your LIttle Passengers Safe
September is National Baby Safety Month. This week is National Child Passenger Safety Week. There are a number of things you can do to keep your child safe when it comes to traveling in a vehicle.
It’s alarming that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death and injury to our children in the United States. An average of 700 children from infancy through 13 years old die each year in traffic accidents.
An additional 128,000 children in this age range are injured due to motor vehicle accidents. Many of these wreck related injuries are serious enough to require children to undergo considerable rehabilitation. These injuries cover a wide range of issues like:
- head and neck injuries
- traumatic brain injuries
- cuts to face and body from glass
- chest injuries
- fractures to wrist, hand, feet, ribs, pelvis, legs and arms
- airbag injuries
- psychological difficulties
An average of 35% of the children who die in motor vehicle crashes were not buckled up. These statistics are startling with seat belt and child safety seat laws in all 50 states.
In addition to actual vehicular accidents, there are an additonal 50+ children who die from being left in a motor vehicle.
Tips To Help Keep Your Child Safe In a Vehicle
There are a number of steps to take to ensure your child is as safe as you can make them when traveling in a vehicle.
- Children should ride in a rear facing safety seat until they reach the maximum weight and height allowed per the manufacturers guidance
- Children who have exceeded the rear facing maximum weight and height should ride in a forward facing safety seat with a built in harness
- Children who exceed the forward facing maximum weight and height should use a booster seat until they reach a height that the installed vehicle seat belts will fit them correctly
- Children 13 and under should always ride in the back seat
- Follow your vehicle’s instructions on how to install a safety or booster seat
- Register your safety seat with the manufacturer to insure that you will be notified in case of a recall
- Do not use a second hand car or booster seat
- Do not use a safety or booster seat that has expired. Yes, they do expire!
- Do not use a safety or booster seat that is missing the manufacturers label that shows the manufacturer’s name, model number, date manufactured
- Check to be sure everyone in the car is buckled in correctly before starting the car
- Most of today’s car seats are approved for air travel – check the label for the statement “This Restraint is Certified for Use in Motor Vehicles and Aircraft”
- Use your car seat when flying to protect your little one from turbulence
- Booster seats are not approved for aircraft travel
- Pack your booster seat as luggage so that you have it with you once you arrive at your destination
Tips To Prevent Children From Being Left Behind
A moving vehicle is not the only threat to a child. Each year at least 50 children in the U.S. die from heatstroke after being left in a car.
While we are all busy and can get distracted, there are things you can do to keep your little one safe when you exit your car:
- Make a habit of looking in your vehicle’s rear and front before you lock the doors and walk away
- Place a stuffed toy or other item in your child’s safety seat when your little one is not in it. Then move the stuffed animal to the front seat as a reminder to you that your child now occupies the car seat
- Or keep a note, a baby picture or other visual reminder on the dash or noticable location that your child is in the car
- Place your purse, briefcase or other item that you’ll need when you exit the car in the back seat so that you have to check the back of your car when you leave
- If it’s your turn to drop your child off at their childcare facility, have your spouse/partner call you to make sure the drop went off as planned
- Ask that your childcare provider call you if your child doesn’t show up as expected
- If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. If the child is in distress, take action to get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible
Additional Tips For Vehicle Safety
- Never leave your child in a car, even for a quick run into the convenient or any store, even if the windows are partially open
- Keep car doors and the trunk locked when not in use and keep keys and key fobs out of reach of curious children
- If a child is missing, always check your vehicles first, including the trunk
- Do not allow children to play in an unattended vehicle, it’s best to not let them think a car is a play area
Let’s do what we can to protect our children in vehicles whether moving or still.