The family car is one of the most common places where children spend a significant amount of time. Because of this, parents need to constantly consider how to keep their children safe when traveling. Although children can enjoy riding in the family vehicle, it can also pose dangers of which parents need to be aware. No parent wants to be in a car accident with their children in the vehicle. Not only is it smart for parents to consider extra safety ideas to protect their children, but also in many instances, it is the law. Here are some tips on how to keep youngsters safe in cars.
Child Car Seat or Booster Seat
A child’s car seat or booster seat is the most common step that parents can do to protect their children when they are in a vehicle. Make sure your child’s car seat fits properly. Visit a local police or fire station or hospital with a child passenger safety technician who will make sure the car seat is installed correctly and has not expired. Your child’s caregiver can also check whether it fits securely. Keep in mind that even if your child’s seat is approved, it may not fit in your make and model of car.
Make sure your child is in the proper car seat according to their age, weight, and size. Consider that if you have an older child in a front-facing car seat, he or she may be too tall for the back seat. Children should remain rear-facing in a five-point harness until they reach the highest height/weight limits allowed by the manufacturer. The child’s feet should touch the floor when sitting up straight with his or her legs bent at a 90-degree angle while knees are above the hips. Exceptions to this rule include children under two years of age who are still within the weight limit of their forward-facing car seats that have five-point harnesses, regardless whether they can touch the floor or not.
Children aged two and older should remain in a five-point harness car seat that is rear facing until they reach its full height and weight limit, regardless of whether or not they can touch the floor. Make sure your child’s car seat has been approved for use in a motor vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) keeps a list of child safety seats with their expiration dates. Make sure your child is using the proper restraint system according to its age, height, and weight limits. This includes booster seats, which must be used correctly for children over 40 pounds but under 80 pounds, regardless if they meet the 4 foot, 9 inch criteria otherwise required to use an adult seat belt without a booster. Although it is not required by law, experts recommend keeping your child in the five-point harness car seat as long as possible for safety reasons.
Your Child’s Caregiver
Many parents forget about their child’s caregiver or nanny. Whether it be someone who comes into the home or whether the child goes to a daycare type establishment, there are many ways that caregivers can be trained when it comes to the safety of your child. Make sure your child’s caregiver knows CPR. They should also know how to properly restrain themselves using their own safety belts while riding in the car with your child. Also, your child’s caregiver should be trained in first aid. First aid courses are offered in almost most areas of the country and are reasonably priced. If your child’s caregiver will be driving with your child, having them trained in first aid will be very important. You never know when a car accident might happen.
Keep a First Aid Kit in Your Car
Keep a well-stocked first aid kit in your vehicle. You never know when you or your child might need a bandage or some other type of first aid care. Make sure the first aid kit includes extra sunscreen, bug bite ointment, bee sting ointment, burn relief spray, anti-infection ointment, and a cold pack, among other items. If your child is allergic to foods or bee stings, for example, make sure to have an extra EpiPen in the first aid kit. If your child needs an inhaler, put an extra one of those in the kit as well.
Obviously, one the best ways to keep your child safe in the car is to not get into accidents. No matter how safe we drive or no matter how much of a defensive driver we are, there is always the chance of a crash. However, you reduce the risk significantly if you drive safely and defensively. Avoid being distracted while driving. Stay off your phone. Drive slow and do not speed. Keep a good look out of the road in front of you and do not tailgate. If you must help your child with something like a snack or drink, do not try to reach in the back seat while driving. Pull over to the side of the road to take care of the issue.
Driveway and Parking Lot Safety
Experts have found that about 50 children each week are backed over by vehicles, either in their own driveways or in a parking lot. Even though vehicles are becoming safer with the use of back-up cameras, this is still a problem. Obviously, the larger the vehicle, the more risk there is because it is more difficult to see small children. Parents need to teach their children that a parked car can still be a dangerous car. Parents also need to inspect the area first before they back out of their driveway. Also, when in busy parking lots, make sure to keep hold of your child’s hand if they are walking, owing to the risk of the child darting away and in front of or behind a moving vehicle.
Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Families after a Car Accident
If you or a family member has been seriously injured because another driver was reckless and did not follow the rules of the road, you probably need help. The Media car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. are available to answer all your questions and fight for your rights to receive fair and full compensation. Call us at 610-565-3701 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.