The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that the number one cause of death among children in the United States is injury sustained in motor vehicle crashes. Unfortunately, some of these deaths and severe injuries could easily be prevented by following some simple car safety guidelines in relation to child passengers. These 10 tips can help you keep your child safe while you’re on the road, and shouldn’t be neglected even for short jaunts.
- Avoid Used Car Seats – Baby gear is expensive, and buying some items secondhand can translate to significant savings. One item that you should never buy used, however, is your baby’s car seat. In addition to the fact that car seats do have expiration dates, you have no way of knowing whether or not a used seat has been involved in an accident. Should you ever become involved in even a minor crash, it’s also important that you immediately replace your child’s car seat. Even non-serious accidents can damage the inner workings and safety features of a car seat in ways that aren’t immediately apparent.
- Install Car Seats Correctly – Properly installing a car seat can be challenging, especially if you’re unfamiliar with a particular model. However, ensuring that your child’s seat is installed correctly could very easily be the difference between him escaping a crash unscathed or sustaining very serious injuries. Child Passenger Safety Technicians offer free installation instructions, which is a service you should take advantage of. Visit safekids.org to locate a safety tech near you.
- Adhere to Size and Age Guidelines – It can be tempting to turn your infant forward-facing before she’s ready or allow your older child to transition out of his booster seat a bit early, but the age and size guidelines put in place by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration exist for a reason. Adhering to these guidelines may not always be convenient, but could very well save your child’s life.