In the United States, car accidents are the most significant cause of mortality among youngsters. In 2019, over 600 children aged 12 and under died in car accidents, and over 91,000 got injured. Thirty-eight percent of children aged 12 and under who died in a car accident were not wearing a seat belt. Therefore, parents and caregivers may make a lifesaving difference on every journey by ensuring that their children sit securely in the car.
Make sure children aged 12 and under are in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt that is suitable for their age, height, and weight while you’re on the road.
- When compared to using a seat belt alone, car seats minimize the risk of harm in collisions by 71–82 per cent for children.
- Using a booster seat reduces the risk of serious injury by 45 per cent for children aged four to eight.
- For older children and adults, wearing a seat belt decreases the risk of death and severe injury by around half.
Every state has its laws when it comes to child passenger safety. For example, if you live in Massachusetts, you will have to follow Massachusetts child passenger safety laws.
Travelling Safety Tips for Child Passengers
- Double-check that your kid is in the appropriate seat for their age, weight, and height.
- Keep youngsters in the backseat of the automobile until they reach the age of thirteen.
- Read the directions and your owner’s handbook before installing a kid safety seat.
- Double-check that the seat belt or lower anchors are in the proper position.
- Make sure the vehicle seat is secure. It should only move one inch from side to side or toward the front of the automobile.
- Make sure the harness straps are tight around your youngster. There should be no slack in the harness that you can squeeze.
- Adjust the car seat’s plastic retention clasp to be level with the armpits if it has one.
- Replace any child safety seat with cracks, missing components, or worn straps. Moreover, if a safety seat has passed the manufacturer’s expiration date, you should remove it.
- A car seat’s lifespan I usually from six to ten years. Therefore, you should be careful to check the expiration date specified by the seat’s manufacturer.
- Airbags can save the lives of older children and adults, but they can kill little children if they are not correctly positioned, especially in the front seat; never put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat near an airbag.
- When it comes to correctly fastening children in all seating positions, always read the guidelines supplied by the vehicle and car seat manufacturers.
Following are the tips you should follow for children of different ages.
Birth to Age Four
Use a rear-facing car seat from birth to age four. From birth to age four, children should be in a back seat rear-facing car seat with a harness. You can not change this seating arrangement until they reach the car seat’s maximum weight or height limit.
Weight and height restrictions are also essential, and you should follow them according to the car seat regulations. You should also double-check the directions on the car seat’s labeling before placing the seat in your car. Never put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat. Front passenger airbags can injure or kill small children in an accident.
Age Five to Eight
Use a forward-facing car seat until your child is at least five years old after outgrowing the rear-facing car seat. When children outgrow rear-facing car seats, they should sit into a backseat forward-facing car seat with a harness.
They should remain in the forward-facing car seat until they reach the seat’s maximum weight or height capacity. It is essential to check the weight and height limitations in the car seat instructions and seat labelling. Use a booster seat until the seat belt fits appropriately after outgrowing the forward-facing car seat.
Age Nine to Twelve
When a kid outgrows a forward-facing car seat, they should wear a belt-positioning booster seat in the rear seat with a seat belt until the seat belt fits properly without a booster seat. When the lap belt is across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt is across the centre of the shoulder and chest, the seat belt is properly secured.
Seat belts usually do not fit until youngsters are between 9 and 12. The fitting of seat belts varies per vehicle, so be sure the youngster doesn’t need to use a booster seat in all of them. A youngster may require a booster seat in one car but not in another. Keep youngsters correctly secured in the rear seat until they are 12 years old for the best possible safety.
Some Other Rules That the Parents Must Follow While Traveling with Children
- Every automobile travel should include the use of a seatbelt.
- Before you get in the car, fasten your seatbelt, and keep it on until you get to your destination.
- Make full use of the seatbelt. The lap and shoulder belts in most autos clasp together. However, some have two different belts, one for the lap and one for the shoulder, while others have a lap belt.
- Teach your children to inspect and fasten all parts of the belt. Also, even if they believe it’s more comfortable, instruct them not to tuck the strap under their armpit. In the event of a collision, this reduces the belt’s effectiveness.
- Seatbelts are not a thing to share. Even though it appears fun, you should never strap two youngsters together.
- Children under the age of 13 should always sit in the rear seat. There is a passenger-side airbag in every car, and during an accident, it deploys and can your child from injury.
- You should be aware that airbags protect a person with a considerably larger physique than a bit of child. Therefore, you should not put a car seat in the front seat
- Children should know the significance of remaining calm and discreet in the rear seat. If kids are bouncing around or shouting, it may cause the driver to get distracted, putting all passengers at risk.
These guidelines are essential, and children should follow them while sitting in every vehicle. Furthermore, even if other passengers do not follow the guidelines, children should obey the rules when riding in a friend’s or relative’s automobile. If your child is offered a place in the front seat of someone else’s car, respectfully reject and inform the driver that they would like to sit in the rear seat.