If you are a parent, grandparent, or maybe an aunt and uncle, you know that a child’s safety is your number one priority when you drive with children. You’ve probably remarked at how many more safety features are available for children now than when you were a kid. Whether you are a little new to the updated world of child safety or a seasoned pro, here are some things you want to keep in mind when putting your child in the car and driving off:
Don’t buy a used seat from a stranger - Used seats purchased from a garage sale, Craigslist or thrift store are a risk for your baby’s safety. The car seat may be expired or may be defective, and you may not know about this prior to use. Either buy it brand new, or from a trusted friend or family member.
Be mindful of the toys in your car - Small, hard and loose toys can make a car crash even more dangerous. You will want to secure loose toys. Aim to only travel with soft stuffed animals and things that would not bring harm in an accident.
Be wary of heatstroke - Leaving your child alone in a car is always a bad idea, even if it’s only for what you believe will be just a couple of minutes while they sleep. The temperature in your car can heat up quickly, which leaves your baby vulnerable to heatstroke.
Be a good example and buckle up - You should always buckle up, but this goes double for those of us with little ones in the car. Nothing is more important for safety in your car than buckling up.
Make certain your car seat is age-appropriate for your child - Know when to swap the car seat for a booster seat. Your car seat will have weight and size limits. If your child’s ears go above the top of the back of the seat, your child has outgrown her car seat.
Install correctly - It may not seem like rocket science to install a car seat, but it is trickier than you think to install it right. Be sure you fully read the manufacturer’s instructions, even if you have installed one before, as not all car seats work the same. If you are even a little unsure of the installation, you can find car seat technicians in your area at www.safekids.org