Tips to Keep Your Child Safe in Your Car

Driving with a toddler in the backseat can be a challenge on its own, depending on the toddler’s mood that day, but that shouldn’t make you forget about safety. This week is Child Safety Week, and IAM RoadSmart, a group working with riders and drivers to improve road safety, is making sure you keep that in mind.
Always use a car seat when driving with a child 6 photos
Photo: IAM RoadSmart
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To that effect, it’s issued 5 tips to keep your child safe while in the car. All are common sense and shouldn’t ring unfamiliar with you. Still, they’re worth going through.

First and foremost, always use a car seat when traveling with a toddler, Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, says. This seat should be adapted to your child’s height and weight, so that means buying a new one when the child becomes too big for the current one.

Make sure you check the car seat regularly for wears and tears. While you’re at it, check the expiry date from the manufacturer as well. As with any other safety device, car seats’ functionality can also be affected if their exterior is damaged. If that be the case, replace it. Needless to say, money should be no issue where your child’s safety is concerned.

Buy a car seat that’s compatible with your child and your car. The standard international mount is ISOFIX and most cars have it, but if you’re driving an older model, you will have to do without one. Even in such a case, a well-attached car seat has no room to move. If it does, you might need to have a professional look at it, because it’s not safe.

Attach the car seat on the back seat of the car, Gladman says. If your only option is the front seat, make sure you have the airbag disabled, in case of an accident.

Last but not least, try to use a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. Children are most prone to spinal chord injuries in crashes, and the odds for them drop considerably when using a rear-facing seat, as opposed to a front-facing one. And no, kids don’t get bored more easily if they’re facing the other way, so don’t use that as an excuse.

Toddlers don’t like to sit still, so will try and get their arms out. Double check the harness is the correct height and pulled comfortably around your child. If you are in any doubt, seek advice from a professional,” Gladman adds. “Check regularly to see that your child is still strapped in correctly and if you are unsure, pull over somewhere safe to check this. Keeping your child occupied can avoid them being tempted to try and wriggle out.”
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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