The Dos-and-Don’ts of Keeping Kids Safe in the Car
Most conscientious drivers will abide by the rules of the road in order to keep their loved ones safe in the car – but there is always more you can do inside and outside of the car to ensure children are protected as much as possible.
Do: Double check the seat belt is clicked and fastened.
A loose connection can sometimes make seat belts appear safe when in fact they’re anything but. Always check the connection with a hard tug – over 30% of child fatalities in car accidents come from lack of seatbelt restraint.
Don’t: Raise the temperature too high
It’s easy for the temperature on the inside of a car to become higher than the temperature outside. Remember to keep the temp cool – especially when carrying very young babies. And of course, NEVER leave children in the car unattended.
Do: Ensure your insurance and MOT are up to date
Insurance indirectly affects safety on the roads – so keep up to date. Plus, make sure you don’t miss that MOT date. Keep the date on your car keys and be aware of special offers, like the current free MOT from Halfords Autocentres with any other purchase.
Don’t: Fit an inappropriate car seat
First things first, the law. In the UK all children need to use a car seat from birth until 12-years-old, or until they are 135cm tall, whichever they reach first. After that, be aware that baby seats are vastly different from toddler seats and not just in size. Research, research and more research is needed.
Do: Prepare in advance
A baby seat is needed the moment you exit the hospital with a baby in your arms. So don’t wait until the little one is born – and bear in mind premature births. If other family members are going to be driving the new arrival, it goes without saying that they will need a seat in their car too. Preparation is key!
Don’t: Ignore new advice and regulations
The direction your baby or toddler faces in their seat is a hot topic right now, with some research suggesting children should be facing backwards until four-years-old. Safety experts Euro NCAP say three years, but advice is shifting. Keep on top of new regulations too – that bargain second hair seat might not pass them anymore.
Children should feel comfortable in the car, but it’s safest if they know that the car is an adult place and not a play zone. Make sure they know the importance of driver concentration and, if on a long journey, plan in advance for toilet breaks and toys and games to keep them occupied.
Don’t: Keep loose items on the seats
Something as innocuous as a box of tissues can take on the weight of a house brick in a 60mph accident. Keep loose items and hard toys out of the car wherever possible.