We carry many things in our vehicles from groceries to materials for DIY projects, but some of the most precious cargo we can carry are kids. One of the best ways to keep kids safe when traveling in a vehicle is to have age-appropriate safety seating and restraints.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reports one of the leading causes of death in children ages 1 to 13 years old is vehicle crashes. Proper restraints with seat belts, a car seat, or booster seat can prevent injuries and death for children under 13 years.
Another thing to consider when transporting children is the rare occasion a child may be left behind in a hot car. There were 53 children who died in hot cars in 2018, the deadliest year on record in the past 20 years. Parents and caregiver’s actions can stop these preventable deaths by taking the following steps:
Read your car’s owner manual to understand the safety features (e.g., rear seat belt warnings, interior trunk release, airbags, car/booster seat installation, and child safety seat anchors).
Be aware of small children outside your vehicle. Roll down your windows when backing out of your driveway or parking spot to hear what is going on around you.
Check to make sure child safety locks are engaged, preventing vehicle doors from opening.
Understand the appropriate type of car safety restraint that should be used according to the child’s age, weight, and height, as well as where they will be seated in the car.
Parents and caregivers should have a routine for each time they exit a car with children in it and avoid any distractions. Leave reminders in your car (e.g., placing your purse, cellphone, or backpack) to draw attention to check the back seat.
Never leave a child in a car unattended no matter how quick the stop or what the weather is, even if the windows are cracked.
If you see a child left alone in a vehicle, immediately call 911.