Four Tips to Keep Your Child Safe in the Car

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), car accidents are the leading cause of death among children. In fact, in 2022 alone, almost 1,100 children under the age of 14 lost their lives to a motor vehicle collision. Furthermore, the safety of your children while riding in the car should not be underestimated or undermined. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which parents can help to keep their child safe in the car.

Choose the Proper Seat

One of the first steps in making sure that your child is safe in the car is to ensure that they are sitting in the proper seat. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises, children should be using either a car seat or booster seat until about the age of 13. From birth until the age of one, children should be seated in a rear-facing car seat. From ages one to four, your child should be in a forward-facing car seat. Then, your child should be using a booster seat from the age of four to 13. The aforementioned ages are a general guideline, as a child’s height or weight may prolong or shorten the time they have to use a certain type of seat. Generally speaking, you will want to keep your child in the back seat as long as possible, as the back seat is safer than being in the front seat.

Buckle Up 

The next safety step is an easy but crucial one – buckle your seat belt! As a parent, you have the responsibility to buckle your child’s seat belt if they are unable to do so, as well as ensure that their seat belt stays/gets buckled if your child is capable of doing so. Although your child may resist correctly wearing a seat belt or resist it altogether, doing so is vital to their safety. According to the NHTSA, seat belts saved almost 15,000 people from death in 2017 alone. Failing to wear a seat belt can result in both legal consequences and physical injuries. Some of the most common car accident injuries, as stated by the car accident attorneys at Martinian Lawyers, include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and soft tissue injuries. This can be incredibly devastating to any car accident victim but especially to children who are still in the early stages of development.

Do Not Eat in the Car

Although you may be tempted to give your child a snack while on the road to keep them occupied, this seemingly innocent act can end up causing fatality and disaster. Choking is the biggest concern with your children eating in the car, and if you are driving, you will be unable to safely and quickly assist your child. Or, if your child is rear-facing, you might not even realize that they are choking. Choking can also be induced by bumps in the road that are ultimately inevitable. Therefore, it is better to forgo eating any snacks while driving on the road. If this is not an option for some reason, opt for safer snacks that are not as likely to cause choking, such as applesauce or pudding. 

Do Not Leave Them Alone in the Car

Leaving your child alone in the car is never a good idea. Even if you are quickly running in to grab your coffee and your child is still within your sight, it is better to be safe than sorry. Not leaving your children unattended in the car is important for a few reasons. Perhaps the most prominent and obvious reason is that it is very likely that your child will overheat from being trapped in a hot car with no source of air. Since 1998, 970 children have died in hot cars from pediatric vehicular heatstroke (PVH). Furthermore, do not be careless and leave your child in the car.

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