Cars in motion pose a serious threat to children. Statistics show that no fewer than 10,000 children under age 12 suffer injuries from car accidents, and some end up in fatalities. Car accidents are also the leading cause of deaths and hospitalization for children under the age of 14. That said, being inside a car can be as dangerous too. This is why it is very important for you, if you are a parent, to childproof your car. There’s a lot that could go wrong if your car is not child-friendly. Here are helpful ways to ensure your car is safe for your kids.
Use a Car Seat
You’ve probably heard this a gazillion times, so consider this a reminder. A child car seat is not the same as your back seat. It is more secure and perfect for children. Get a car seat that is appropriate for their size and be sure to place it at the centre of the car. This position helps reduce the chance of injury in case there is a crash.
Fasten Your Child’s Seatbelt
When your child is old enough to stop using car seats, ensure they start using the backseat seatbelts. Fasten the belts before every ride and regularly use your front mirror to check if it’s still on. A child can unbuckle the strap, so be at alert to notice any changes in time. It is very important that you help kids understand the usefulness of the belts and why they shouldn’t attempt to take it off.
Use the Rear Door Child Locks
Children love adventure and that can sometimes mean trying to open the door while you’re driving. This is why there are child locks to use to prevent situations like this. For manual locks, you will find the lock inside the back doors. Engage it. Now, no matter how innovative your child gets at the backseat, they are safely secure there. Try not to lock yourself in though or you’d have to exit through the front door. That’s not going to be an easy task. Child locks are deployed easily with automatic locks. You can activate it from the driver’s door control unit.
Engage the Windows
Each car door usually has its power window switch, if it’s within reach, children can press it to see what happens. When this happens and the window panes are down, the next action would probably be to stretch out their arms. This is a no-no. Use your overriding driver’s window lock control to keep it secured and your child safe from potential danger.
Keep Dangerous Items Away
Sharp objects, cleaning solutions, medications, cosmetics, insecticides, and the like, should not be left in the back seat. Children are curious by nature and you don’t want them learning about something the hard way. It’s best to keep them away altogether. A good place to store these items would be your glovebox or in the trunk.
Don’t Leave Your Keys in the Car
Whether you’re stepping out for a second or two, to quickly say hi to a neighbour before leaving the driveway, don’t leave your keys behind. Recall that children are adventurous and curious by nature, they also observe and learn quickly. They may think they’ve seen mom drive many times to be able to do it too. That’s a disaster you don’t want on your hands. If adults who know how to drive can have accidents, imagine what your child could get into.
Don’t Leave Your Child Inside the Car
Did you know that leaving a child under 10 years inside the car in a dangerous situation is punishable by jail time of up to 5 years? Well, ‘dangerous’ here could mean extreme hot or cold conditions, and fatalities have been recorded in such situations. Apart from this, there’s a risk of kidnap, dehydration, seatbelt strangulation, choking, and even your kids locking you out. So, take them with you every time.
Deactivate Front Airbags
If you’re driving a two-passenger car, before installing the car seat, make sure to deactivate the airbag. The impact of airbags is dangerous for kids. Securing it would minimize the risk of injury. You are, however, better off driving a four- or more door car for the sake of your child.
Having done all of these, still stay vigilant throughout every drive. You never know what could happen or what you forgot to do. This means dedicating time to view your backseat as well as the road ahead of you.