Sept. 20-26 marks Child Passenger Safety Week. During this week, drivers should take time to review safety precautions when transporting children of all ages, in all types of vehicles.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017, every 32 seconds a child under the age of 13 riding in a passenger vehicle was involved in a crash.
To protect children when they are in your vehicles, follow these tips on how to safely drive with kids.
Make Sure All Passengers Wear Seat Belts
Make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seat belt. Kids take their lead from adults, so the driver and others should set the example by wearing a seat belt.
When carpooling kids, or transporting several children at once, it’s important to ensure every child is buckled up. Make sure there are enough seat belts in the vehicle for each passenger, and that each child has his or her belt properly fastened.
Properly Install Car Seats
When properly installed, the NHTSA states car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers. To ensure the car seat is properly installed, visit a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in the local community to check the seat. Make sure the car seats children are sitting in are appropriate for their age, height and weight, and that they are positioned correctly in the car.
Practice Defensive Driving
When driving children, it’s especially important to be cautious when behind the wheel. Drivers should be alert and vigilant of their surroundings and others on the road when operating a vehicle. This can help prevent accidents.
Don’t Drive Distracted
Drivers should be focused on the road in front of them. They should not use a cell phone while operating a vehicle with kids in the car. They also should not be engaged in conversations or any other behaviors that can risk taking their attention off the road.
Obey All Traffic Laws
Drivers should always obey all traffic laws when operating a vehicle, but this is especially important when there is a child in the car. Drive at or under the speed limit, follow all traffic lights, stop signs, traffic signs and other traffic rules.
Check Vehicle’s Surroundings Before Moving
Drivers need to check all mirrors and blind spots before moving the vehicle when children are present. There is risk of reversing into a child if a driver doesn’t see him or her behind the vehicle. There is also risk of hitting a child if he or she runs in front of the vehicle. Because of this, drivers need to be vigilant when children are present.
Check Vehicle Before Locking It
Before leaving a vehicle, double check to make sure there isn’t a child still in it. Each year 38 children die after being left in a hot car. While most drivers don’t think it will happen to them, it can be easy to forget a sleeping child in his or her car seat. To avoid this, make sure to check each seat in the car to ensure there isn’t a child in it before locking and leaving the vehicle.
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