Your top priority as a parent is keeping your kids safe. One situation where a child is most at risk of major injuries is when traveling in a car. According to 2019 NHTSA data, 3% of all traffic fatalities were children below 14, accounting for over 1050 lives.
While the figures may seem insignificant, they represent actual losses to affected families. So if you are planning to take your children with you on a road trip or if driving with your children is something you do regularly, this post highlights some essential safety tips you may need to know.
1. Ensure That Every Child Is Restrained
Children must remain restrained while riding in a car. The appropriate restraint will vary depending on the child’s age and size. For children younger than eight, ensure they ride in an age-appropriate car seat and are appropriately restrained.
For toddlers under two, their car seat must be attached to the front seat with the baby facing the rear. If a child is over 8, they can transition from a child restraint to a booster seat, allowing them to fit the regular seat belt properly.
If a child fits properly in a seatbelt without the booster seat, they can transition to using only the vehicle’s safety belt. The basic rule for buckling up is that all passengers, including the driver, must have the proper restraint while in a moving car.
2. Do Not Leave Your Kids in a Car Alone
You should never leave your children alone in a car for several reasons. First, you may not know who may intend to harm them. Sadly there is the news of carjackers driving off with kids in the back seat or, even worse, child traffickers. So if no adult is in the vehicle, take them with you.
Also, in warmer temperatures, a car can heat up pretty fast when the AC is not running, putting your children at the risk of heat stroke, which can be fatal.
3. Do Not Text and Drive
Since its invention, the phone has been the worst form of distraction for drivers. While talking on the phone is deadly, it is nowhere near the danger of texting while driving. According to the NHTSA, writing an average text gets your eyes off the road for approximately 5 seconds, equal to driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed when traveling 55 miles per hour.
But texting is not the only distraction when on the road. Any activity that takes your mind, hands, or eyes off driving qualifies as a distraction from talking to kids in the rear seat, eating, drinking, to sightseeing. This post on 25 distracted driving facts and statistics can help you clearly understand distracted driving and its cost to life.
4. Drive Carefully
You must have come across a “fragile” label on moving trucks. Those labels are put to notify other road users to be cautious when driving near them. Also, the driver must be extra cautious with the goods to ensure they reach their destination in one piece.
Your kids are your fragile goods when on the road. While you may not put a fragile label on your car, you cannot be too careful with your kids onboard. It should be the time to put all your defensive driving skills to use. But you do not have to get tense over it because it may negatively affect you.
As long as you follow all traffic rules, you can significantly reduce the chances of getting into an accident. If you get in one after doing all to avoid an accident, you should consider talking to a local car accident lawyer for help filing a claim.