As we all know; LA is terrible when it comes to traffic on the freeways. According to Fox LA, Los Angeles ranks as the 6th worst city in America for traffic congestion. When you drive with your kids anywhere, safety is a priority in these conditions. To ensure their protection, make buckling up a habit. That means both you and your kids need to get into practice to fasten seatbelts. Kids both listen and watch their parents, so you have to set an example.
The following information will give you further insights on making any car ride safer for your baby, toddler, or older children.
1. Use Car Seats with the Proper Head and Neck Support
When your newborn or toddler rides in a car seat, make sure you have one that will sufficiently protect his or her head or neck. Head supports for car seats should be designed so they offer the proper protection to support the head and neck and keep your child stable while riding.
Because an infant has little control over their movements, it is imperative to follow the car seat manufacturer’s directions for reclining and placement.
Whether your child is an infant or older, using a car seat that is well-designed and offers protective head and neck support prevents a variety of serious injuries. These injuries include brain damage, whiplash, and concussion.
Make sure the product has been crash-tested per U.S. Safety Standards and is patented so your child’s head does not fall forward if you have a fender bender or wreck.
2. Place Your Child and His or Her Car Seat in the Back Seat – In the Center
Where you place your child in your car is also an important factor. According to the publication Pediatrics, the safest palace in the car for children up to 3 year old is in the back seat – not on the side but in the center.
Most parents place their child on the right rear side, as some find installing a car seat in the center is difficult. However, statistics reveal that a child sitting in the middle, in the back of the car, has a reduced risk for injury compared to children sitting outboard on either side.
3. When Riding with More than One Child, Place the Most Vulnerable Child in the Middle
With that said, suppose you have two children riding in the car. You cannot put them both in the middle. In this case, you need to place the most vulnerable child or the younger child in the center.
For example, if you have a newborn and toddler, you would place your infant in the center. If your child is sitting in a forward-facing position in a car seat, put him or her in the center and your rear-facing child at the side. Rear-facing positions are considered safer than forward-facing placement.
4. Use a Rear-Facing Car Seat for Infants and Toddlers
A rear-facing child safety seat is preferred for supporting the spine, neck, and head of babies and toddlers This is because it is designed to distribute the force of a collision across the body. If a child is older, a forward-facing seat and harness is suggested for use if they are not old enough or large enough to fit into a seat belt. A child should ride in the back of a vehicle until they’re 13 years old.
5. Know What Your State Says about Child Car Seats and Car Safety Restraints
Review your state’s laws for car seats and restraints to ensure an extra safe ride. Restraint systems are designed for children in various phases – by age, weight, and height.
6. Practice Defensive Driving
Wrecks happen when people get careless. To drive defensively, you need to slow down and also put your smartphone down. Pull over to the side of the road in a safe spot if you need to use the electronic. Driving defensively means driving without distraction.
7. Snack Outside the Car
While it helps to keep fresh snacks on hand when taking long trips, you don’t want to give the food to your kids while driving. Think about what could happen if your child started choking on the food.
8. Make Sure Your Older Child Passes the Test for Fitting into a Seat Belt
Most children, who ride in car seats, do so until they are about 10 years old. This is when a child reaches the height of at least 4 foot 9 inches. Make sure the seat belt fits as follows:
- The shoulder belt lies between the shoulder and neck.
- The lower back should fit against the car’s seat.
- The lap belt should rest on the thighs.
- The knees should naturally bend on the edge of the car seat.
- Your child should be comfortable riding like this for the duration of the trip.
As you can see, practicing safety while driving highly focuses on using the proper car seats and safety restraints. To keep your child safe from serious injuries, learn what car seats and placements are most beneficial for accident prevention and safety.