Traveling in a car is a natural part of life. We all remember strapping up in the back seat as little kids, barely able to see out the windows, all the while dreaming of someday being old enough to be riding in the front. Fast forward a couple of decades. Not only are we the drivers now, but we also have our own little precious ones strapped in the back, this time around, fantasizing about their own versions of the future. And although manufacturers have come a long way in terms of child car safety, we’d like to share some amazing tips all parent should be aware of before stepping in a car with your little one.
Seatbelts: the most important child car safety feature
It’s obvious and you have heard the message a million times. There is no way to sugar coat the fact that all children must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system while riding in a motor vehicle. Period. Of the children ages 12 years and younger who died in a crash in 2015 (for which restraint use was known), 35% were not buckled up. Get the facts on child passenger safety.
Guidelines for Parents and Caregivers
Ridesharing & Taxi services
So, your car is in the shop or, better yet, you live in the city and don’t have one. Chances are you are riding in some sort of a taxi or ridesharing service. Did you know that UberX provides vehicles equipped with car seats? And while their biggest competitor Lyft doesn’t offer the same perk, you are welcome to bring your own car seat with you in order to legally use their service.
Interestingly enough, unlike other major cities like Paris and London, when it comes to yellow cab’s in New York City, you are not legally required to follow seatbelt and car seat laws due to exemptions. Though we strongly suggest that if you plan on riding a cab, you bring your own car seat to ensure the wellbeing of your little one.
Modern car: safety tips 101
Restraints are extremely important to ensure kid’s safety. The old school method of securing a car seat in the back was a major pain in the rear. Since 2002, all new vehicles come equipped with a safety feature called Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH). This system essentially makes it easier to install child safety seats without having to use the seatbelts. Yaaay!
Everyone wants to ride in the front! But, because of a young child’s size, riding up front puts them at serious risk if the airbag is deployed in an accident, which is why it is always recommended that children under the age of 12 ride in the back seat. If circumstances don’t allow this (eg car seat doesn’t fit in the back or no back seat at all), make a point that your vehicle comes with an airbag shutoff switch, or a smart airbag system, before you allow your child to sit in the front seat.
Just when you thought you had all safety features covered, then something as benign as the weather steps into the picture as a legitimate threat to the well-being of your little one. Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. On average every 8 days, a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. It is very easy for the temperatures inside a vehicle to rise very quickly.
The rule of thumb is very simple. Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle. Not even for one minute.
If you’d like to share additional tips relating to child car safety, please share in the comments below.