You’ll want to read this
With summer still claiming its rights and the holiday season closing in on its peak, it's important not to look away from an often disregarded matter: children safety in and around the car.
Just like you want to disconnect and enjoy an upset-free holiday, your little ones are looking forward to the fun days promised by the summer vacation. However, their safety is just as important – if not more – than you having a good time.
We are not trying to make you yawn while reading this; therefore we came up with six straightforward pieces of advice on how to keep you child safe while embarking on that road trip you've been planning for a long time.
1. Use the correct car seat or booster seat
By that we mean you should only use an age-appropriate child seat, as it follows: buckle children under the age of two in a rear-facing car seat. For children between two and five years old, go for a forward-facing car seat, use a bolster seat for securing children over the age of five, and as soon as the car's seat belts fit properly across your kid's upper thighs and chest, you can drop the dedicated car seat/booster seat.
2. Beware of heatstroke
Children don't handle heat as an adult's body would. That's one of the reasons why heatstroke is a common cause of child death. To prevent that, make a habit out of looking twice and checking the rear seats before locking the car and keep in mind that in 10 minutes under direct sunlight, the temperature inside a car can double. Some of the symptoms related to heatstroke are red, hot and dry skin, nausea and the lack of sweating.
3. Tidy up the cabin
Besides keeping your car's interior in a clean state, making sure there are no loose objects in the cabin can mean the world in the event of a collision, when every smartphone, coin or water bottle has the potential to turn into a dangerous projectile.
4. Don't take your eyes off the prize
That is, getting from A to B in complete safety, children included. Therefore, never leave your kids alone in the car whatever good reason you might think you have, but also teach them not to play with door and power window switches as well as not to sit on armrests. Also, make sure you never leave the key in 'ignition', 'on' or 'accessory' positions.
5. Keep enough water and food around
Unless you're planning a short shopping trip to the mall/supermarket/grocery store, remember that just like you, a kid might feel thirsty or hungry on longer trips. Don't overreact with the meals, though, especially if your little one suffers from motion sickness. Again, it goes without saying that there are pills which appease and block travel sickness, so make sure you pack some of those as well.
6. Choose a car with top crash test ratings
We know, buying a car is a complicated process, and sometimes the budget gets in your way. However, consider your child's safety when deciding to change cars or buy your first one. Do the research and see which models offer optimum occupants protection, depending on the area you live in. A good starting point is the Euro NCAP website if you live in Europe and the NHTSA's rating database for US residents.