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Keeping Your Child Safe When You’re Driving

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Nobody can force you to get into a car. If you don’t want to drive you can use public transportation. When you choose to get into a car you accept something might go wrong. Unfortunately, kids don’t get to make the same choice.


Therefore, you have to do everything in your power to make sure they don’t get hurt. You owe it to them. Sadly, lots of children are still getting hurt due to silly mistakes. Let’s look at what they are so you can avoid them.



1. The Car Should Be Full

Once children reach a certain age they don’t need a special seat, which means they can get into the car themselves. You need to make sure they are inside the car before you start driving to avoid problems.

If your child is still in the driveway you might run them over. I know it sounds like it couldn’t happen to you, but it’s more common than you think. Also, if you stop to look at used cars for sale you won’t leave them stranded.


2. Facing Backwards Is Best

Children need to face backwards when they’re young, but this isn’t always a requirement once they hit the age of two. Even though you can do what you want, it’s still a good idea to make older kids sit facing backwards.

Let your child face forwards when they’re old enough to wear a seatbelt properly. When they face the other way they’ll be five times safer if you get into an accident, which could be the difference between life and death.



3. Check The Car Is Empty

You shouldn’t leave your child in the car when it’s hot even for a few minutes. There is no way to tell whether or not you’ll get distracted. On average, 37 kids die every year because they’re stuck in a boiling car.

It’s not just bad parents who leave their kids in the car. You could do it when you’re extremely busy and not thinking straight. It’s also done by accident too, so get into the habit of checking.



4. Pass The One Inch Test

Baby car seats shouldn’t be able to move around too easily. In fact, to keep your child as safe as possible they should be tight. You should carry out a one inch test before putting your child inside.

Grab onto the belt once you’ve connected everything up. Move the seat to each side and once you’re done pull it back and forth. If the seat moves further than one inch at any point it has failed the test.


5. Carpooling Is Dangerous

Studies have shown carpooling can be dangerous when you’re driving young kids around. Some adults seem to think they don’t need to put every child in a car seat. Also, children are sometimes put in the wrong one.

If you’re the driver make sure you ask every parent to give you the correct seat when picking up their child. Make sure your child will be sitting in their seat if someone else is driving them around.



Don’t Do Anything Too Crazy

When driving you should remember who is with you. If your child is in the car drive slower than normal. You might think you’re an excellent driver, but you won’t be able to control other cars on the road.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.