Vehicle Safety for Kids
With summer vacation upon us, it is even more important that we are aware of the safety of our youngsters in and around cars.
If you have a child who needs at car seat or booster seat, you can verify that you have the right seat for that child and that it is safely installed by having the seat checked by a child passenger safety technician. It is important to know that as you travel across state lines, you are held to the child passenger safety laws of the states you are visiting. Be sure to register your car seat so that you receive recall information. If you do not have the postcard to register the seat, you may do so at the seat manufacturer’s website. You can also check recalls at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/childseat.cfm?MfgID=All&x=10&y=11
Children can suffer from heat stroke much more easily than adults, and it is one of the leading causes of death in children. Remember to always “Look before you Lock” EVERY time you get out of the vehicle, not just when you have your kids with you. We all know not to leave our kids unattended in a car; changes in routine are a risk factor for doing so.
Teach your kids to stay away from vehicles, especially when the vehicles are running. The blind spot of your vehicle is probably larger than you realize. Depending on the height of the driver, the average small sedan has a blind spot of 12 – 24 feet, the average minivan has a blind spot of 15 – 26 feet, the average midsize SUV has a blind spot of 18 – 29 feet, and the average pickup has a blind spot of 23 – 34 feet. Walk around your vehicle before backing up and open your windows so that you can hear outside the car. Be aware that kids move quickly and unpredictably and actively check your mirrors as you back up.
Children can be hurt playing with power windows and loose seat belts. Teach them that these are not toys. Properly restrain children so that they cannot reach these items and NEVER leave them unattended in the car. Secure spare seatbelts by fastening them and activating the locking mechanism by pulling the belt all the way out, then slowly allowing it to retract. Teach kids to not lean or stand on the armrest of the car door.
Prevent trunk entrapment by teaching children that trunks are for storage, not play. Always close the trunk, lock the car, and take the keys out of the car. Check the trunk first when kids are missing; it can quickly become too hot for a child in the trunk of a vehicle.
It is sometimes possible to shift a vehicle out of “park” when the key is in the ignition. Prevent rollaway by always using the parking brake, remove the keys from the car, and of course, always supervise kids when they are in or around a vehicle.
For more information on these topics, visit:
You can schedule an appointment to have your car seat checked with Shelby County Public Health at 755-4422. For further information on vehicle safety, please contact Rhonda Anderson, Parent Educator, at 755-4421.