Whenever we hear about the statistics of car-related children deaths or injuries, we ask ourselves if we are doing every possible thing to keep them out of harm’s way. Many of us have gone through articles, dedicated sites and recommendations from institutions of authority, but maybe we need a recap every now and then, just to keep it all fresh i our minds.
The first rule of driving with children is that they have to be well buckled down, be it by seat belt, or by tucking and buckling them into a properly-installed car seat. This will minimize their movements and help suppress some of the shock from an impact. However, a seat belt left in the hands of a toddler might turn into a halter if you’re not careful, so it is recommended to buckle and lock it away if you’re not using it.
Secondly, children should always be seated in the back, as front seats are more open to damage, and air bags being a possible choking object once it’s triggered. This applies even if you’re using an extra safety measure such as a booster or a convertible seat.
Another important recommendation comes from the horrifying number of deaths in infants caused by heat stroke: never leave your child in the vehicle unattended, even if the windows are open, or the sky is cloudy, since cars tend to overheat very quickly. Leaving the child unattended may also give him/her ideas about personally driving the car, so one should always remember to take the keys out of the ignition and turn the ignition off.
Power-windows also constitute a real threat to the integrity and even life of children, according to the NHTSA. Close the windows and lock them to prevent your kid from sticking his fingers, hands or any other body parts through the window while it’s closing.
If you’re the only adult in the car, keeping a close eye both on your kids and on the road at all times will be impossible. This is why you should remove all the objects that can become projectiles in case of an accident, as well as those a toddler can use to hurt himself when you’re not looking. Try to keep them occupied with little games, stories, or music so they have less time on their hands to think about tricks and larks that might unfold dramatically.