6 Simple Ways to Keep Your Child Safe in the Car

by AutoInsuranceQuotes.org Staff Writer on November 28, 2012


In many ways, the rules for safe driving are no different in the 21st century than they were 50 or 60 years ago: pay attention to the road, drive defensively, and don’t try to eat a super-sized burger-and-fries meal with a road map unfolded across the steering wheel while trying to locate a decent song on the radio. One thing that has changed is our heightened level of concern for the safety of babies and children in the car and the number of products that are available to parents and caregivers to make driving a safer and more enjoyable experience. Here are six simple ways to keep your baby or child safe in the car.

  1. Install a child seat:

    The No. 1 thing you can do to keep your baby or child safe while driving is strap them into a correctly sized and installed car seat. Car seats reduce the chance of fatal injury in the event of a car accident by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers and are required by law in all 50 states. Be sure you use a seat appropriately sized for your baby or child. If you need help installing the seat correctly, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Association website to locate a safety-seat inspector in your city.

  2. You should never, ever leave a baby or child unattended in a closed vehicle, even if the weather outside is mild:

    Inside a hot car, a baby or toddler’s body temperature can increase up to five times more quickly than an adult’s, making them much more vulnerable to heatstroke.Take care not to forget about a sleeping baby or child when you leave your car by doing a visual check of the interior before you leave the car. That may sound silly, but there are countless instances of even the best of parents forgetting about and leaving behind a baby or child in a vehicle.

  3. Don’t text and drive:

    This should be obvious but unfortunately, for many new parents, it’s not. Given the likelihood of having an accident as a result of texting or talking on a cell phone while driving, you should consider which is more important, taking a call from your boss while driving or the life your child? If you absolutely need to text or make a call, just pull over. Your concern for safety will make a big impression on your child.

  4. Set the ground rules:

    Before you hit the road with your kids, make sure to articulate a few ground rules. Explain that a driver needs to pay attention to the road. Tell them they may have to wait until you can pull over before you can help them with a malfunctioning toy, spilled drink, or bathroom break. It may be tempting to turn around and address your kids while driving, but do your best to resist, even if it drives your kids nuts.

  5. Install a review camera:

    Back over accidents, where a baby or child is run over by a vehicle as it is backing out, are currently the leading cause of non-traffic deaths for children. Rear view cameras that show what is happening in a driver’s blind zone are already standard equipment for over 45 percent of all 2012 vehicles and will likely become a legal standard for all vehicles by 2014. Until then, consider buying an aftermarket rearview camera (they cost as little as $100) if one isn’t already installed in your vehicle.

  6. Use teamwork:

    Are you riding with your spouse, a fellow adult, or an older child? Then team up to keep an eye on the younger passengers on board so that you can keep your attention on the road. Babies and toddlers sometimes, OK, always need distractions during a drive, so ask another mature passenger if he or she can lend a hand singing songs or reading stories to a little one.

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