When you’re on the road, the obvious car seats and seatbelts are essential for keeping your children safe. But what about when the car is parked?
Whether you are in your driveway or a parking lot, there are still things you can do to ensure your car is safe for your children.
Each year, an average of 37 children die from vehicular heat strokes. Even worse, motorized vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children younger than 13 years old, making up one in every four unintentional deaths overall. This is very daunting to hear especially since many of these deaths are preventable.
These statistics can be very scary and leave parents feeling helpless. However, there are steps parents and caregivers can take to childproof their vehicles. Follow these tips to ensure your vehicle is safe for your children to reduce the risk of injury or death in your car.
Car seats save lives, especially when they are used properly. In fact, car seats can reduce the risk of death among children in motorized vehicles by approximately 71%. This is assuming that their car seat was installed correctly and they were buckled up securely.
Car seats should be used at all times when your child is in the vehicle. Whether you are moving or not, it’s essential that your child remains in the car seat buckled up at all times. Keep in mind that as your child gets older, they will grow. It is particularly important that you use the correct car seat for your child based on their height, weight, and age. Safety is the number one priority, which leads us into discussing the importance of using rear-facing and five-point harness car seats.
Picking the Right Car Seat
When selecting the right car seat for your child, there are several you will want to consider.
It’s important to focus on finding a car seat that both fits your vehicle and your child that you can install yourself properly every time. We understand that car seat selection comes down to fitting a parent’s budget. Unfortunately, this makes the process of finding a car seat quite difficult.
Car seats come in a wide range of prices. Just because a higher priced car seat may come with more bells and whistles, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is safer or performs better than one that costs less.
Remember that all legal car seats have to pass the same crash test and safety standards. There is no one answer for selecting the right car seat. Although, generally speaking, you will want to purchase a car seat that fits your car and child, as well as provides easy installation in your vehicle.
Child Safety Locks
All newer passenger vehicles with rear doors come equipped with switches on the inside of the back doors. This can prevent any dangerous situations with children who can open doors and even unbuckle car seat restraints.
Engaging this switch makes it so that the door can be opened from the outside, not the inside of the vehicle. Activating child safety locks are especially important for those parents who have children that are able to reach the door handle from their seats. If you are second-guessing yourself about whether the child safety locks are on or not, then check your car’s manual instructions.
Try to avoid locking yourself into the backseat. You can still get out by climbing up towards the front seat, but let’s face it, for most of us that will be an unneeded challenge.
Back Seat Organizer
Kids can be handfuls whether they are in the car or not. They always need something to keep themselves preoccupied.
Keep in mind that being organized allows you to adapt to any situation. When there are clean-up supplies, extra clothes, blankets, wipes, toys, treats, and more scattered around your car, you’ll need something to organize everything.
Rather than constantly digging through your diaper bag, try an organizer that hangs on the back seat. A good back seat organizer will hang tight against the back of the seat and will have plenty of pouches for snacks and toys.
Rear Facing Mirror
When you are driving, it’s dangerous to turn around to check on your baby. A back seat mirror lets you do just that without stopping the car. Since your child will be in the rear-facing car seat for a while, you will need to put the mirror on the back seat. It’s important that you make sure to place it in a way that allows you to see it from your rearview mirror.
What you have in the car doesn’t matter if that car itself is not safe to drive. Before you bring home your new baby, make sure you are up to date on the maintenance of your vehicle. Here are a few things you should have checked before driving your vehicle:
- Tires – Check that all your tires are up to standard on pressure and tread.
- Brakes – Make sure your brake pads are not making any noise. Keep in mind that they should be replaced every 50,000 miles.
- Oil – A well-lubricated engine runs better and reduces the risk of your engine from stopping in a place you are unfamiliar with.
- Lights – Safety is not just about avoiding accidents, it is also about others avoiding you. Ensuring your lights work allows others on the road to see you.
- Battery – If your battery fails, your car dies and is unavailable to you. Make sure to check your car battery regularly to prevent this from occurring.
Is Your Baby Proof Car Ready?
There’s car safety for children beyond safe driving and car seat use. Child locks, never leaving children unattended, and securing all items in your vehicle are just a few of the ways you can make your vehicle safer for kids.
At McDowells Safety and Repair, our number one goal is meeting all your vehicle’s safety needs. If your vehicle has had any interior or exterior damage, look no further than McDowells. We are the guide to the best solutions for your vehicle.