It’s common knowledge that road rage, chatting on your cellphone and driving while distracted or fatigued are not smart driving practices for anyone. However, once a driver becomes a parent, there is more to keeping the family safe in the car than just standard good driving habits. A vehicle can be a dangerous place for children and not only when an accident occurs.
Car Seat Safety
Whether you’re going on a long car trip or just driving across town, your child must be secured in an age-appropriate car seat or booster seat. Unrestrained or improperly restrained children are at risk of being seriously injured or killed in a car accident.
Installing the seat properly is crucial, but so is continuing to check that the seat is buckled securely. Children can unbuckle a seatbelt accidentally or out of curiosity, but for a car seat to protect your child, it must be firmly secured to the car.
It is also not safe to place a child younger than 12 years of age in a seat equipped with an airbag. Airbags can deploy even in minor accidents and seriously injure or even kill young children.
Look out for Flying Objects
Do you have library books on the passenger seat, a heavy nappy bag on the floor, or sporting equipment rolling around in the car? Beware! Unsecured items can become missiles in an accident, whether they are launched in a sudden stop or fly through the car during a rollover.
Use whatever means possible to secure unrestrained cargo and try to avoid carrying heavy unrestrained objects. Keep smaller items stowed in your glove compartment or storage area under the seat if available. Larger items should be locked in the trunk or secured in a box or cargo net. Also don’t forget to secure unoccupied booster seats, which could be thrown forward during an accident.
Keep Kids and Keys with You
You’ve probably heard it before, but it bears repeating: Never leave your child or your keys in the car.
Kids with access to keys or remote access buttons can put cars into gear or even neutral, causing the vehicle to roll away. Children with car keys can also enter a trunk either from the outside or, in some cars, through rear seats, finding themselves trapped inside - a dangerous situation.
When left unattended in a parked car, children have been known to die of heatstroke
There have been incidents where parents have forgotten that their children are in the car. This is not as improbably as it sounds – babies and small children strapped into a child safety seat on the back seat can fall asleep and a parent can literally forget that they are carrying precious cargo.
When you arrive home, make sure that you get your kids out of the car first, and then worry about getting the groceries, etc., out of the car.
With today’s families spending more time on the road than ever, being aware of these hazards and employing smart strategies in and around the car are critical steps in keeping your family safe.
For a tailor-made motor insurance quote, talk to Indwe Risk Services today.