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Child Passenger Safety, A Critical Issue.

Child Passenger SafetyEnsuring child passenger safety in your vehicle is crucial.  Children need to be properly buckled in to seatbelts, car seats or booster seats.  Kids and babies need to be in the back seat and their parent or driver needs to obey all rules of the roads and be able to drive concentrating on the road and traffic around them.

A key factor in child passenger safety is to ensure your child is buckled in correctly or secured in a correctly installed car or booster seat.  Babies under one year should be placed in rear facing child seats. Some of these seats fit onto an installed base in the car and others buckle into the back seat. Never place a child in a rear-facing seat in the front seat of your car. The airbag could harm or kill your infant. The airbag inflates at an incredibly high speed and can crush or suffocate a small child.  The car seat is most recommended in the center of the back seat. Babies over one year should be in a forward facing child safety seat either with a five-point harness or similar locking mechanism.  There are many car seats on the market and you should use one that is less than ten years old and never purchase one second-hand as you don’t know if it’s been involved in an accident that could compromise the safety of the seat.  If you’ve been given a car seat as a hand-me-down, ensure that you know the history of the seat and that you have the manufacturer’s installation directions and have ensured there hasn’t been a recall on any part of the seat.  Correct installation and insuring your child is properly buckled in are key factors in keeping your child safe in the car. Many police stations and community groups offer car seat clinics to check if your seat is properly installed and car dealerships often will properly and professionally install your car seat for you.

Children that are too big for a car seat can use a booster seat to ensure their safety.  Booster seats keep them secure in their seat belt and comfortable.  Once a child is too big to sit in a booster seat, they can safely ride as a passenger in the back seat of your car provided that they wear their seat belt correctly. For most places, the law is that a child must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 80 pounds. Another important newer feature of vehicles is child safety locking mechanisms. When engaged, the vehicle can only be opened from the outside. This mechanism prevents children from being able to open their door without their parent or guardian’s knowledge.

Ensuring your children are safe in your car is important. Driving safely and not leaving your children in the vehicle alone (even for a moment) without an adult passenger is extremely important.