Five simple ways to keep your child safe in the car

by | Mar 28, 2016

Keeping your child safe in the car is easy – here are five simple ways.

Learn some simple things you can do to keep your child safe while riding in a car.

Many people visit a car accident lawyer in Nashville after their child suffers an injury. Car accidents cannot always be prevented; however, that doesn’t mean that children must always become victims. Here are five simple things you can do to protect your little one from danger.

#1. Buckle your child up using the appropriate car seat or booster seat

According to the Centers for Disease Control, buckling children in and/or placing them in age-appropriate car seats can greatly reduce the risk of death or serious injury. Placing infants under one year of age in a car seat reduces their risk of death by 71%. Among children ages one to four years of age, car seats reduce the risk of death by 54%.

Placing children ages four to eight years of age in a booster seat reduces the risk of death by 45% when compared to placing them only in seat belts. Children over the age of eight who are placed in seat belts will see their risk of death or serious injury be cut in half.

#2. Use safety seats correctly

A recent study was performed on nearly 3,500 users of car and booster seats. The results from that study showed that 72% of all participants did not use their car and/or booster seats correctly. Furthermore, their misuse of these seats occurred in such a way that it increased the risk of a child suffering from an injury during a crash.

The Community Preventative Services Task Force has recommended that governments enact new car seat laws, and that education programs be implemented to raise awareness. Such education programs are thought to be effective at encouraging people to use car seats appropriately. If you have questions about the proper use of a car seat, you may consult your owner’s manual, or contact a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

#3. Always place your children in the back seat when using a car or booster seat

Children under the age of 12 should always be placed in the back seat of your vehicle. That way, even if you are involved in an accident, you will not have to worry about them becoming injured by a deploying airbag. How children are placed in the back seat will largely depend upon their age, and here are some guidelines to consider:

  • From birth to around age two, you should place your child in a rear-facing car seat in the middle of the back seat. Your son or daughter should remain in this car seat until he or she has reached the upper height and weight limits as stated in your manual.
  • From approximately age two through five, your children should be placed in a forward-facing car seat that is placed in the back seat of your vehicle. The exact age at which your child outgrows this seat will vary, and will be based upon the limits imposed by the manufacturer.
  • Ages five and older should be placed in a forward-facing booster seat that is properly secured in the back seat. Your children should continue to use a booster seat until they are big enough for seat belts to fit properly. This is generally considered to be whenever they are at least 57 inches tall.

Once children are old enough to wear seatbelts, you may allow them to ride in either the front or the back seat, provided they are buckled in during each trip.

 #4. Do not drink and drive

After drinking and driving, you pose a threat not only to those around you, but also to the passengers in your own vehicle. Between the years 2001 and 2010, approximately one in every five children age 15 and under who died in an accident did so as a result of drunk driving. In 65% of those cases, it was the child’s own driver who was intoxicated. Intoxication is defined as having a Blood Alcohol Content of greater than .08 percent, which is the legal limit in most states.

#5. Set the example for your children to follow

Of all the children ages 12 and under who were killed in an automobile accident during 2013, approximately 38 percent of them were not properly restrained. When it comes to getting older children to wear a seat belt, your actions will speak louder than your words. The Centers for Disease Control reports that as many as 40% of all children riding with adults who do not wear their seat belts are also unbuckled. Black and Hispanic children were more likely to be unbuckled during a fatal crash than white children were.

These five things take very little time, but can go a long way toward keeping your children safe. Make sure to follow these five tips each time you get into your vehicle, and the odds of your children surviving an accident will be much greater.