Whether summer road trips beckon or you’re resuming more pre-quarantine activities, increased highway time with your tiny-passenger crew means revisiting best practices for safety.
Check out the following tips for keeping kids safe while in your ride. We’ve also gathered some strategies for keeping your car’s interior safe (and clean) from those same tiny passengers.
The Safety Basics
- Always use a car seat. Car seats are designed to protect children from injury or death during vehicle collisions, so choosing the right one and installing it properly tops the list. Check the car seat laws in your state here, and refer to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for an in-depth guide on car seats and booster seats.
- Activate child locks to prevent any dangerous mishaps with children accidentally opening doors.
- Use the window locks to keep children from playing with the controls and potentially getting their hand, arm or hair caught in a rolling window.
- Secure safety belts. If there are any unused, loose belts within arm’s reach of your child, secure them so there’s no chance of them becoming an entanglement hazard.
- Never leave a child alone in a car. Not even for a minute. From heat stroke and abduction risk to the possibility of a hit-and-run incident or your child getting loose in the car, the potential of harm is simply too great to chance it.
- Never leave your keys in the ignition or car. Ever-observant, your children have surely seen how you use your keys and, if afforded the chance, could try mimicking your actions.
- Use the back-up camera to avoid hitting children outside your vehicle who may be out of view.
- Declutter the car. Any object can become a projectile in an accident, so make sure items are secure or stowed away. Keeping your car clean also decreases the risk of your child grabbing something that might be a choking hazard.
- Use sunshades to protect their delicate skin from harsh UV rays. You can find easy-to-use shades in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles.
- In-car entertainment. The upside to living in the Age of Screens is that they’re a parent’s best friend in keeping kids distracted and entertained in the car.
- Never drive distracted. Not only does distracted driving endanger you and your children, it sets a bad example for their future driving habits. Eating, texting, inattention, and daydreaming all pull your focus away from the road. So does engaging with your kids in the back seat, which is all the more reason to get everyone set up and settled in before you pull out from the driveway.
- Maintain your vehicle to decrease the chances of overheating, breaking down or getting stranded.
Minimizing the “Mess Orbit” in Your Car
- Get a rug or a beach towel to protect underneath the car seat and along the entire seat’s length. It’s easy to remove, shake out, and throw in the washer.
- If you allow food in the car, only allow that which can be vacuumed up (i.e. nothing squishy, mushy or sticky). For liquids, water (in spill-proof cups) tops the list for easiest clean-up.
- Cover the backs of the driver and front passenger seats to protect them from dirty footprints.
- Put cupcake liners in the cupholders to catch those unreachable crumbs.
- Invest in a quality seat protector for leather seats that may become stressed by the car seat’s weight over time.
As with anything else that involves kids, creating habits and routines are often the key to success. When it comes to vehicle safety, adopting best-practice habits will keep your entire crew safer and happier on the road.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.