Buckling your child up is just one way to help prevent injuries. It’s also important to be aware of the other hazards cars can pose to kids. Preventing backover and frontover incidents, heat stroke and trunk entrapment are just as important to keeping your kids safe in and around vehicles.
Engineers are working hard to ensure that cars and car seats are designed to keep kids as safe as possible. But it’s up to every parent to take full advantage of these innovations by making sure car seats and booster seats are used and installed correctly. Here’s what you need to know to ensure that your most precious cargo is safe in cars.
Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States. Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent.
- Seventy-three percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly, so before you hit the road, check your car seat. Here’s a car seat checklist from Safe Kids Worldwide to help you out. It takes only 15 minutes. If you are having even the slightest trouble, questions or concerns, certified child passenger safety technicians are able to help or even double check your work.
- Learn how to install your car seat for free. Safe Kids hosts car seat inspection events across the country where certified technicians can help make sure your car seat is properly installed. They will teach you so that you can always be sure your car seat is used correctly. Find a Safe Kids car seat checkup event near you.
- Buy a used car seat only if you know its full crash history. That means you must buy it from someone you know, not from a thrift store or over the Internet. Once a car seat has been in a crash, it needs to be replaced.
- We know that when adults wear seat belts, kids wear seat belts. So be a good example and buckle up for every ride. Be sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up, too.
- Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. While it may be tempting to dash out for a quick errand, the temperature inside your car can rise 20 degrees and cause heatstroke in the time it takes for you to run in and out of the store.
While it may seem like you need an engineering degree to figure out which child safety seat is best for your child, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Read more tips and we’ll help you pick the right seat for your child’s age, weight, height and developmental stage. Thanks to Safe Kids Worldwide for info, stats, and photos.
Since 1998, more than 630 children across the U.S. have died from hyperthermia, when unattended in a vehicle. Sadly, more than half of these reported heat stroke deaths occurred when a distracted caregiver forgot their child was in the car or truck. Other heat stroke fatalities occurred when a child was playing in an unattended vehicle and became trapped, or when a child was intentionally left unattended by an adult “for just a few minutes.”
- Always lock a vehicle’s doors and trunk – especially when parked in the driveway or near the home – and keep keys out of children’s sight and reach.
- If a child is missing, check vehicles and trunks first.
- If you see an unattended child in a car dial 911 immediately.
- Be aware of child-resistant locks.Teach older children how to disable the driver’s door locks should they become unintentionally entrapped in a motor vehicle. A toddler will not know to climb into the front seat to climb out of the vehicle.
- If you find your child in a locked car, get him out and dial 911 or your local emergency number immediately to check for signs of heat stroke.
- Teach children that trunks are only used to transport cargo and are not safe places to play.
- Show older children how to locate and use the emergency trunk release found in newer cars.
- Keep the rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent kids from getting into the trunk from inside the car.
- Walk all the way around your parked vehicle to check for children – or anything that can attract a child like pets or toys – under or behind your vehicle before getting in and starting the engine.
- Accompany young children when they get in and out of a vehicle.
- Identify and use safe play areas for children away from parked or moving vehicles. Block driveways so cars cannot enter and exit.
- Designate a safe spot within a driver’s sight for children to wait when nearby vehicles are about to move.
- Firmly hold the hand of each child when walking near moving vehicles and when in driveways, in parking lots or on sidewalks.