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Driving with Kids: 14 of the Best Car Safety Tips

In 2020, around 63,000 children, 12 and under, were injured in a car accident.

In order to reduce this number, everyone needs to be taking more precautions. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to ensure your child’s safety at all times.

We have put together this list of car safety tips that will help you keep your children protected while you’re on the road. Below you’re going to read about how preventing accidents is key and the steps you can take to reduce the risk of car accident injuries.

Keep reading for all the information you need!

1. Obey the Law

One of the easiest ways to keep your child or children safe in the car is by obeying traffic laws. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many accidents could be prevented if people followed the rules.

An accident isn’t always your fault, and you can’t control what other drivers do; however, if you are always following the rules and regulations, your children will be much safer.

If you are in an accident, be sure to contact a car wreck attorney. They will be able to help you get the compensation you deserve.

These restrictions are put in place because studies and tests have proved them to be effective. For example, there is a weight, height, and age limit on who can sit in the front seat. Children under the age of 13 should always sit in the backseat to avoid extensive injury from the airbags.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also has guidelines that you should follow regarding age-appropriate car seats and booster seats.

2. Choose the Right Car Seat

It’s vital that you choose the right car seat for your child. There are different options depending on their weight, size, and age. Having the right car seat will ensure they are protected in case of an accident.

You don’t want your child’s head and neck to be in a vulnerable position when you’re driving.

Choosing the right seat can be a daunting task, as there are so many on the market. First, you may want to look at the NHTSA for safety guidelines and recommendations.

Children’s car seats range from rear-facing to front-facing to booster seats. There are many that are convertible and able to accommodate different ages. Often times car seats are able to be used for the different stages of a child’s life, making it easier and more affordable for you.

Choosing a high-quality car seat is key to keeping them safe. You’ll want to look for safety features, including five-point harnesses and easy-to-use seatbelt installation systems.

Car seats can be complicated and difficult to use; however, this puts your child at greater risk. If the car seat is not installed correctly, then it will be ineffective in protecting them if there is an accident.

Always double-check to make sure the seat is locked in and won’t move during the drive.

You should also check to make sure the car seat is compatible with your vehicle. Some may not fit properly in certain cars, so be sure to look at them before making a purchase.

It’s crucial you don’t sacrifice your child’s safety for price. There are high-quality car seats that will fit your budget. Cheaply made seats are less than ideal, they should be avoided at all costs.

Related reading: Baby Car Seat Advantages and Disadvantages

3. Remove Large Coats

Another safety tip that you might not think of is removing large clothing items before putting your child in their car seat. Winter coats are necessary during the cold months; however, they can cause your child’s car seat to be less effective in keeping them safe.

The extra material between your child and car seat straps allows there to be more room for your child to move around. The straps will be a lot looser, allowing them to be vulnerable during your drive.

If your child is cold, be sure to place a blanket over them after strapping them in so the harnesses aren’t loose. This will keep them secure and safe.

4. Skip the Snacks

As a parent, you’re likely always on the move. Often times we feel like we’re constantly in the car running errands and getting things done.

It’s likely that snack time will roll around eventually if you’re spending a lot of time in the car. However, this can be extremely dangerous, especially if you have young children who are in rear-facing car seats.

There’s a high risk of your child choking on the snacks if you hit an unexpected bath or have to slam on the brakes. Instead of offering your child a snack to keep them entertained, try using a toy and giving them food before or after the ride.

We know this isn’t always possible, so if snack time is necessary during your car ride, opt for food that is not a choking hazard. For example, an applesauce pouch or a yogurt tube is a great alternative to Cheerios and fruit snacks.

5. Keep Them Entertained

In order to keep your child safe in the car, you must pay attention to the road. This can be a lot more challenging when you have children in the backseat.

Children can easily become bored when they’re in a car which oftentimes turns into a tantrum. This can be extremely distracting for you and dangerous.

The road requires 100% of your attention, and if you’re trying to calm your child down in the backseat, you put yourself and your family at risk of an accident.

Before setting out on your drive, even if it’s a short one, be sure to have games and toys that will keep your child distracted while you pay attention to the road. Having several options is a great way to keep them entertained for a long time.

6. Hold Hands

One of the oldest safety tips in the book is to hold hands with your child when you’re crossing the road or parking lot. As your child gets older, this may become the reason for tantrums, but it’s crucial for keeping them safe.

7. Always Check the Back Seat

Another one of our car safety tips is to always check the backseat. If your child is sleeping, we’re not making any noises, it can be easy to forget that they are there.

To ensure you don’t forget about your child, place essential items in the backseat with them. For example, if you’re going to the store, put your purse in the backseat with them when you’re loading up the car. This will prevent you from going inside the store without your baby.

While you might think you’ll never forget about your child in the backseat, it’s much more common than you think. In fact, around 900 children have died in a hot car since 1998.

8. Roll Windows Down

Another easy way of preventing accidents is to roll your windows down when you’re backing up. Many cars have safety features such as backup cameras; however, small children can go undetected.

Keeping your windows down and the radio off when you’re backing out of your driveway or out of a parking lot allows you to hear any children that may be behind you.

9. Child Lock

Children get curious in may unknowingly unlock a door or trigger a power window.

This can be extremely dangerous, as their fingers or arms could get pinched. If the doors open, they are at risk of falling out as well.

Activating the child safety locks on the doors is a great way to ensure they don’t accidentally open the door while you’re driving. You should be able to drive without having to worry about your child opening a window or unlocking the door.

If your vehicle doesn’t have this feature, there are other alternatives. Oftentimes, rear-facing car seats prevent your child from reaching the locks or door handles, so keep that in mind.

10. Teach Children Left and Right

Once your child is old enough, you should be teaching them left from right and the importance of car safety. This information keeps them safe not only when they are in your vehicle but when they’re crossing the road, at school, or with friends and other family members.

As we mentioned before, children often learn by watching you, so even when your child is young, be sure to follow and take safety precautions. When you’re crossing the road with them, look left and right. You can practice this with them, so when they are on their own, they will be prepared.

11. Ensure Safe Sleeping Positions

Many children find riding in the car to be soothing and will often fall asleep. It’s important that you make sure their sleeping position is safe and won’t cause an injury in case of an accident.

Your child should always remain buckled even while they’re sleeping, and their chin shouldn’t be touching their chest as it could block their airway.

Most car seats come with head rest and features that will keep their heads up. Keeping the harnesses in the recommended areas is an easy way to ensure your child is sleeping in the proper position.

12. Secure Loose Items

It’s important that you keep items secure on your car ride. Your purse groceries, and other items could cause major injury to your child if there is an accident.

The same thing holds true if you’re traveling with your pet. It’s advised that you keep your furry friend in a crate or carrier so it’s not a distraction to you.

This will also ensure that if another car hits you, the animal won’t cause any harm to your child. The crate or carrier should also be secured down so it doesn’t slide or move around when you make it turn.

13. Lead By Example

Studies show that children learn by watching their parents. Even if you aren’t teaching them something specific, they are learning from you.

Children will often imitate what their parents do, which is why it’s so important that you lead by example when it comes to car safety. Always wearing your seatbelt and avoiding using your phone will show your children how to be safe when they’re in a vehicle.

It may not seem like much, but doing the things you want your children to do is an effective way to teach them.

14. Invest in Car Maintenance

Car maintenance may not seem like a big deal, but it is crucial for keeping your child safe. If your brakes or tires are worn out, there’s a greater risk of an accident.

The same thing is true if your headlights or brake lights are out. You should be regularly taking your car in for inspections and oil changes.

This will ensure that a car malfunction won’t cause injury to your children.

We know life can get busy, and it’s easy to forget about your car. Setting a reminder is an easy way to help yourself remember to make your vehicle’s appointments.

Car Safety Tips

Keeping your child safe is number one on your list of priorities, and we hope these car safety tips have helped you do that.

When you’re driving, you should always keep your eyes on the road, and these driver safety strategies will help you do that, so you can reduce the risk of car accidents and injuries.

We know caring for a child can be very difficult at times. We want to be a support for you and your family.

For more parenting tips, check out our blog. We have lots of information that you will find useful.

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