“Strap, secure, go,” may seem like a simple way to get your car ready for a long journey or quick trip this summer; however, there are a few more crucial steps to successfully baby- or child-proof your vehicle. With family vacations, trips to the local ice cream shop and daily outings quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to brush up on car safety tips.
Do Your Research
First and foremost, do your research on car seats. This includes ensuring the seat is federally approved, knowing specific age- and size-appropriate seat recommendations for your child, proper installation and which position is the safest to face. The American Academy of Pediatrics states all children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat. To see which type of car seat is recommended for your child’s age, height and weight, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Designate a Spot for Your Keys
It may feel like common sense, but oftentimes we forget how easy it is to leave car keys laying around. Make sure to never leave your keys in or around your car, or in reach of children. Kids look up to their parents as role models and pick up on their actions. You never know when they’ll play “grown-up” and try to actually start the car. To avoid any problems or accidents, keep your car locked at all times and have a designated safe spot for your keys.
Lock It Up
Lock it up in general. Whether it’s a window lock or rear door lock, utilize every child lock available in your vehicle. Window locks prevent distractions, such as siblings arguing if the window should be up or down. They also remove the possibility of anything getting stuck in the window. Read your car manual instructions to enable rear door child locks, especially if your child is within reach of the lock.
Look Both Ways, Twice
In the average week, 50 children in the United States are injured from being backed over by a vehicle. Back overs typically occur in parking lots or driveways and can be fatal. Lemonade stands, hide-and-seek and driveway basketball games put children at a higher risk during the summer months. Children may not understand the potential danger of a vehicle or how blind spots work. Even with backup cameras, you can never be too cautious. When putting your car in reverse, you should always be 100 percent conscious of your surroundings, after all children are constantly on the move.
Keep It Clean
Keeping your car as clean as possible is another way to ensure car safety. The less clutter there is, the clearer your mind will be. After cleaning, do not leave cleaning supplies in your car that could be toxic to children. Items that may not seem like a danger to you can be hazardous to children. Remember to store potentially dangerous items such as tools, wiper fluid, motor oil and medications in a secure spot. Fastening vacant seat belts with the switchable locking retractor is beneficial, as unused seat belts may pose a strangulation risk.
Today there are more than 200 grades of steel available to automakers, allowing engineers to apply the right grade in the right location for exceptional occupant protection, durability and crash energy management. Rest assured, you can feel protected when driving your kids around town as a result of innovative steel solutions used throughout your vehicle.
Never Leave Your Child Alone
Whether it’s the middle of winter or the peak of summer, never leave your child alone in a vehicle. The temperature in a car rises rapidly, even on cool days. Leaving a window down does not allow for adequate air circulation. Heat stroke happens quickly, so a child should never be left alone in a car. Running a quick errand is not worth risking a child’s life.
Always being aware is the key to car safety and your child’s safety is clearly the number one priority. Even in a parking lot or when crossing the road, you should always be alert. Properly educating children on car safety promotes precautionary measures. When gearing up for a family vacation this summer, don’t just “strap, secure, go.” Take the safe route with our car safety tips!
Did we miss something? Let us know your babyproofing tips in the comments below!