Reports show that there are close to six million auto accidents in the US every single year, leading to thousands of deaths and countless injuries for those involved. Thankfully, there are things we can do to improve child safety while driving.
Accidents can happen to anyone, even the smartest and safest of drivers, so it’s up to you to do all you can to minimize your risks and stay safe out on the roads.
This is especially important if you’re traveling with little ones. Children can be at high risk of life-altering injuries when accidents occur.
As a parent or guardian, the lives of your children are quite literally in your hands whenever you strap them in your car and get behind the wheel. With this in mind, here are some useful tips for child safety while driving.
Child Safety While Driving – 4 Important Tips
Use Car Seats
Car seats aren’t just recommended; they are a legal obligation. The exact specifics of car seat laws can vary from state to state in terms of what ages your kids need to be when using car seats and which sizes and types of seats they should use.
Regardless, experts all agree that kids need to be seated in car seats so that even if an accident happens, they will have a lesser chance of sustaining an injury.
Studies back this up, showing that car seats can reduce the chance of a child’s death by more than 71 percent. So it is well worth taking some time to do your research, read reviews, make yourself aware of the laws in your location, and shop around to find the best possible car seat for your child, upgrading and updating the model as they grow older.
Distracted drivers are one of the biggest causes of auto accidents on American roads, and in this day and age, it is really easy to let yourself get distracted.
Your phone, your car radio, your GPS, and even your passengers or your children can all serve as little distractions that might make you take your eyes off the road, even for a little while, or lose a little bit of concentration.
Do all the things you can do to minimize the distractions in your vehicle. This means setting up your phone to be able to answer incoming calls without the need to use your hands, if necessary, as well as configuring your GPS before you leave your house.
And remember, you can pull over safely if you need to use any devices. It’s also a good idea to give your kids some things to keep them occupied if they tend to get irritable on long journeys.
Never Leave Them Unattended
As well as keeping your kids safe while you are actually driving, you need to think about keeping them safe when the vehicle is parked and stationary. Even in parked cars, kids can be exposed to different types of dangers and threats.
In 2018, 53 children were killed after being left alone in hot cars on sunny days, for example. There are also many cases of children being abducted from parked cars.
There have even been cases where other vehicles have collided with badly-parked cars with young passengers inside. If you need to stop for any reason, make sure you park safely and take your kids with you, rather than leaving them in the vehicle.
Keep Your Car Clean
Another top tip to bear in mind when you want to maintain child safety while driving is to make sure that your car is clean and tidy at all times.
This is not just an aesthetic issue; it is a safety issue as well. You see, if there are any small loose items like change or debris rolling around on the floor of your car, they could distract you while you drive.
In addition, loose items can interfere with your pedals or feet, or even turn into dangerous projectiles if an accident happens.
Make sure you take some time to clean up the car on a regular basis, removing any loose items and securing any loose luggage in the back of your car.
It’s also a wise thing to perform regular maintenance and check-ups on your vehicle in terms of tire pressure, fluid levels, headlight effectiveness, and so on.
You want to make sure that everything is working smoothly and perfectly, especially before your long-planned journeys.
Every time you get behind the wheel of a vehicle with little ones by your side or in the back, it’s important to take responsibility for their safety, as well as your own.
Driving safely and sensibly is the best way to keep everyone safe on the road. But it’s worth remembering these useful tips for child safety while driving to really make sure you absolutely minimize the risks of ending up in an accident.