Having your kids in the car can add fun to the whole thing. After all, children are fun to have around.
But having kids with you also means you take all the precautions to keep them safe. We’ve learned so much about how you can protect yourself as a driver while on the wheels. But what about the children?
Kids may not understand the consequences of some of their actions so it is your responsibility to ensure they are out of harm’s way.
Here are the 8 car safety tips to live by if you have kids.
1. Keep them in the rear seat
Always encourage your children below 12 years to sit in the rear seat. First, they will be less of a distraction to you when they are at the rear. But more importantly, they are safer there.
2. Never leave your little kids alone in the car
Leaving your kids in the car as you go about some business in the streets might seem convenient, but it is not safe.
Children continue to die of car-related heatstroke after being left and forgotten in the car by their parents. You do not want your hot car to kill your children so make it a habit to come out with them. It’s hard to believe, but some parents do forget about their children asleep in the rear seats.
So as not to forget your children as you get out of the car, it is recommended you put your cell phone at the rear seat with your children before you start driving. You may forget that you had a child with you but as you walk out and realize that you don’t have your cellphone, you will return for it, thereby see the child, who may have fallen asleep in the course of the journey.
3. Your kids should not play near the car
There have been incidents where a parent goes to the parking, opens the car door, gets in and start the car, not knowing a child is innocently playing or sleeping under the car.
To avoid the tragedy of injuring or killing a child playing around the car, always warn them against playing near the car. They should grow up knowing that they can only be near the car under an adult’s presence. The parking should be no-go zone for them.
4. Always check around before entering the car and drive away
You should always take the time to peep under the car and around each tire if you have crawling toddlers at home. Children are children.
When you return home, roll windows down as you back up so that you can see your rear. You may also need to buy a backup camera.
5. Have them buckle up
It is not uncommon to find all the passengers in the vehicle buckled up except the children. Your children need seat belts as much as you do. In fact, they need it more.
If you are driving on a bumpy road, the child can easily be thrown back and forth, resulting in injuries. The same can happen when you have to press the emergency break. The child can be thrown onto the windscreen.
You have probably come across a parent wearing a face mask to prevent contracting the Covid-19 while carrying a child who has no mask. It’s absurd, but sometimes we assume some risks are curtailed for only adults.
6. Kids should not eat in the car
Are your kids bothering you with endless questions as you drive? Well, serve them some snacks to keep them busy. As they munch those crisps, you can drive without being distracted.
That’s the easiest way out, except it’s unsafe for your children. According to statistics, one child chokes to death every 5 days in the US. Your own child too can easily choke if eating in a moving car.
Foods are a choking hazard with the top ones being hot dogs, popcorn, candy, peanut butter, whole grapes, dried fruits, and more.
You may not quickly notice that the child is choking, especially if it’s a bumpy ride. It may be late by the time you find the right place to stop the car and to try saving the situation.
Feed your children before driving away, or stop the car and have a meal with them if they get hungry in the course of the journey.
Stopping for a meal will also give you the opportunity to rest for a while, if on a long journey.
7 Keep sleeping babies in proper positions
Children love to play, laugh and sleep. And they fall asleep anywhere and in whichever position they are in.
You should ensure that your child is sleeping in a proper position. For instance, your child’s head should not be dangling in the air as he sleeps, lest he breaks his neck should you come to a sudden halt that causes his head to jerk.
8. Lock the doors of a parked car
Children are sometimes described as “monkey see, monkey do” because they quietly watch us do things, then try to repeat them.
Sometimes they repeat them in our presence while other times they want to try doing those things when all alone. Your child may always want to get on the wheel but would not ask you for an opportunity. Instead, he looks for the opportunity.
This do not fall under play because here is a child who seriously thinks he can drive a car if ever he gets an opportunity. Apart from the risks that come with the child trying to drive, he can can also lock himself in and, unable to come out, suffer the consequences of overstaying in a hot car.
Wrapping it up
Some of the tips we have discussed will require that you act tough or be stern with your children. You have to understand the risks and the consequences of their actions, if they are old enough to understand.
The good news is that children are trainable. You should also be on the lookout; don’t rely on their ability to follow instructions or remember the warnings.
At Pierre Paul Driving School, we aim to make you one of the best drivers. But we also go out of our way to advice you about some of the ways to avoid incidents.
You may be a good driver, alright, but then you end up hurting a child just because you have not learned the precautions to take as a driver if you have a child in or around your car.
Join our driving school (located in Brooklyn, New York) today.