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Kids And Cars: Safety Tips

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When a child gets into a car, every parent or caregiver's main concern should be getting that child from Point A to Point B as safe as possible. With all the tips out there and laws changing, it can become overwhelming to keep up. Here are 10 of the most up-to-date safety tips you should follow.
Kids and Car Safety Tips Lafayette, La

Choose the Appropriate Car Seat

The first step to safety is getting the right car seat that matches your child’s age, weight and height. Whether it’s a rear facing seat for newborn as they go through their first year of life, or a booster seat for older children, making the right choice is crucial. Th American Academy of Pediatrics, (AAP), offers the below guidelines:

  • Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat. Most convertible seats have limits that will allow children to ride rear-facing for 2 years or more.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible, until they reach the height and weight limits for their seats. Many seats can accommodate children up to 65 pounds or more.
  • When children exceed these limits, they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly. This is often when they have reached at least 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years old.
  • When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for optimal protection.
  • All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.

Proper Car Seat Installation

A car seat needs to be installed correctly and firmly. If it wiggles more than an inch in any direction, it’s not tight enough. All police stations or fire departments will check and/or install your car seat for free. A simple Google search will help you find the closest one near you. 

Back Seat Is Always Best

To keep kids safe in the car, the CDC recommends kids under 13 sit in the back seat. It’s far away from the front seat airbags, which can be dangerous to small bodies in a crash.

Securing Harness' and Seat Belts

Ensure the harness straps or seat belt fits snugly. For car seats, the chest clip should be at armpit level. Shoulder belts should not cross the neck or face, and the lap belt should be snug across their lap. Once they age or weigh out of a car seat, children should transition into a booster seat. You still need to keep them in the back seat and ensure the seatbelt is properly adjusted and snug to keep them safe and secure.

Never Leave Kids Alone in a Car

Even on mild days, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures. Always take your children with you, even for quick errands, to avoid the risk of heatstroke. Leaving kids in a hot car, even for a few minutes, can lead to fatalities.

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Educate Your Child About Car Safety

Talk to your kids about why car safety is important. Explain how seat belts protect them and why they should never play in or around cars.

Be Careful With Power Windows

Teach kids not to play with power windows to avoid injuries. Use child safety locks when available. This can avoid their little fingers from getting caught in a window as it’s closing.

Check Your Mirrors Before You Back Up

Always check twice around your car before backing up to avoid accidents, especially in driveways where children might play. This will help prevent backovers from occurring.

Choose Vehicles with Child Safety Features

If you have young children, try to choose a car that has child safety features built in, such as window locks, car door locks that prevent accidental opening, and advanced airbag systems.

Keep Up with the Safety Game

Kids grow up fast. Regularly check your car safety measures are keeping pace with their growth spurts and changing needs. When buying a new car get the best one in your budget that has the optimal chances of keeping your children safe.

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