How To Keep Kids Safe in Your Car
Driving safely is a piece of cake—if you’re the only passenger. But kid passengers tend to make things a little more difficult and distracting. It’ll be years before they get behind the wheel themselves, but there’s no time like the present to start instilling the rules of the road and safe driving in them. Read on to learn how to keep kids safe in your car and what you can teach them about safe driving along the way.
Teach Them That Cars Are Off-Limits Without a Grown-Up
One of the biggest rules for any kid to follow, especially little ones, is that no one gets in the car without an adult present. Activate the parking brake, remove and store the keys, and keep your car locked when it’s in the garage or driveway to prevent kids from turning it into a play space. Aside from the obvious dangers, such as accidentally starting the car while playing with the keys or slipping a car parked on an incline into neutral or reverse, there are many other ways kids can damage the car or, worse, hurt themselves or others. Even when the car is locked, make it clear to your kids that they need to stay away from the car.
Lock the Windows
Power windows are handy, but they’re also extra irresistible to little fingers eager to watch them slide up and down. Unfortunately, they generate a great deal of pressure that can crush those fingers or even catch and strangle a child who manages to stick their head out the window. Some power windows have an auto-reverse safety feature, but not all. Tell your kids to never play with the windows, and make it easy for them by locking them yourself. If you can stand a few doodles, let them decorate the windows with easy-erase markers, which should give them extra inspiration to not open the windows.
Stay on Top of What’s Happening in the Back Seat
That goes beyond threatening to turn the car around and go home when sibling rivalry turns into a squabble. For younger children, make sure their car seats are fitted properly and secured and tight enough to restrain them without being uncomfortable. For newborns and babies in reversed car seats, set up a mirror in the back so that you can keep an eye on them in the rearview mirror. Don’t let younger children snack, since it’s harder to monitor them for choking hazards while you’re driving. Finally, never forget that a child is sitting back there. Leave a note on the dashboard or keep something you’ll need to retrieve later, such as a purse, phone, or similar item, in the back seat.
Teach by Example
When you’re considering how to keep kids safe in your car, don’t forget to be a good example to those future drivers. Follow the rules of the road and be a gracious driver, avoiding any road rage outbursts or declarations of other drivers’ incompetence. Make a point to explain what you’re doing and what the various signs on the road mean. They’ll remember!