Car Safety for Kids
Written by Greg on July 14, 2016
Car wrecks are a leading cause of death in children under the age of 12 years old in America. Proper selection and use of safety equipment is essential to protect your loved one when an expected accident occurs.
Research the Cars for Safety Ratings
One of the first steps a family can take to help protect their loved ones is to research and study the vehicle they select to purchase. One helpful resource in that regard is the website www.safercar.gov which contains very helpful information like government crash test results and rollover information for cars and pickup trucks. A little bit of time spent researching the vehicle you are considering can be very well spent and helping to protect your loved ones. Obviously, the higher the safety rating the better for your family.
Newer vehicles come with many safety features build in that are designed to help protect children. An example of a few include:
- Automatic door locks– Automatic door locks can be helpful to reduce the risk of occupant ejection and also an important safety consideration in preventing forced entry into your vehicle.
- Advanced airbags– Airbags have made a huge difference in reducing the severity of injuries and many accident scenarios. Some newer vehicles contain not only advanced front airbags but also side airbags. Recent recalls have been a concern for many people. You can check out the status of airbag recalls here: http://www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/takatalist.html.
- Rearview cameras– Rearview cameras prevent unnecessary backup injuries and that is a leading cause of injury and death of toddlers.
Car seats are an important consideration for families who have children from infants to those children old enough to where an adult seatbelt safely.
For the very young, rear facing car seats are appropriate. That is followed by forward facing car seats and even booster seats for those too old for rear facing car seats and too young for adult seatbelts.
Children under the age of 1 are recommended to always have a rear facing seat which is installed in the back seating area. Manufacturers of seats generally put the height and weight specifications for children on the car seats they manufacture. Obviously, parents should adhere to the manufacturer’s suggested specifications for their children’s safety.
Once a child has reached the height and weight specifications for a forward facing seat they can be moved appropriately and as with the rear facing seat the forward facing child car seat should be installed in a rear backseat.
Booster seats are used in conjunction with adult seatbelts to allow the seatbelt to be effectively used by a child. The seat lifts the body so the child can be appropriately restrained in an adult seat belt.
Experts recommend that you find a car seat that appropriately fits your child and make sure that the seat you have selected is properly installed. Taking the time to read the installation directions are critical to helping keeping your children safe in their seat.
As previously indicated, the rear seating area is appropriate for children in car seats. Make sure that the harness is secure enough that excess slack does not remain between the harness and your child.
For helpful information about car seat safety see: https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats
Dangers in and Around Vehicles
Another area for child safety are dangers around vehicles. Small children tend to dash out into and behind vehicles and that is a leading cause of infant fatality. Costing children not to play around streets and vehicles is always necessary as is checking around your own vehicle whenever backing out or pulling up.
In areas like Houston, Texas heat can be fatal for children left for even short periods of time in a hot car in the summertime. Heatstroke can quickly become fatal. Children should never be left unattended in a car regardless of whether the air-conditioning is running or not.
Parents should also check frequently to make sure that their children are adequately belted as children have been known to play with the buckles and unbuckle themselves unknowingly. To prevent entrapment and/or unnecessary injury parents should always double check the seatbelt.
A little time spent investigating vehicles, safety equipment and instructions for proper utilization can help prevent an injury from an accident for your family. Extra caution with children in and around cars is always warranted.