Five Child Automobile Safety Tips You NEED to Know

As parents, we know not to leave our children in a car alone; we are aware of the dangers of leaving our children unattended in a parking lot, and wouldn't dream of traveling without proper safety restraints. But often, there are times when parents believe they are doing everything right, and it isn't enough.

Two mothers were parked side-by-side chatting together during a sleepover swap. After screaming impatiently for several minutes, a toddler was unbuckled and permitted to move about on the interior of one of the vehicles.   Several more minutes passed before the mother checked in on the toddler.  With her eight year-old's attention being placed on her portable gaming device, she had no idea her little sister was being strangled in a seat belt behind her.  The mothers were able to quickly relieve the child with a pair of scissors. This entire incident occurred within a few short minutes of being left inside of the vehicle without proper supervision.

Young siblings were watching their older brother install his new car stereo system.  With the doors of the vehicle open, the children were permitted to play in the backseat of the car.  The two playful children decided to exit the car quickly when the first child slammed the door in an attempt to keep the second child from following.  The second child's hand was in the doorway at the time of the rapid closure.  This incident resulted in broken fingers.

Both of the accounts referenced above occurred 1) while a parent was nearby and 2) the children were thought to be supervised even more closely by a sibling.  The parents believed they were being supervised responsibly and were taking added precautions.  These incidents were the result of what they didn't know about child auto safety and had nothing to do with their parenting skills up to that point.

The following is a list of five child automobile safety tips you need to know to prevent accidents like those experienced above.

  1. Lock all seat belts that are not regularly used by buckling the belt and gently pulling the shoulder strap all the way out.  Next, release the tension you placed on the shoulder strap. (As you return the belt you may hear a clicking noise.)  Once complete, the lap and shoulder straps will not be able to pull away from the seat - helping to prevent child play and entanglement.  When you need the seat again, unbuckle the belt and return it to the winding mechanism. This will unlock it and allow normal function to resume.
  3. Keep a sharp pair of scissors or, preferably, a seat belt cutter inside your glove compartment.  Everyone of responsible age should be aware of their location in an emergency.
  5. Never leave young children on the interior of a vehicle without proper adult supervision - even while standing outside of the vehicle and/or with the doors open.
  7. Teach your children that a vehicle, whether parked or in operation, is not a safe place for play.
  9. Teach older siblings how to properly buckle and supervise young siblings in an automobile.

Author Note: Pam Maynard is the author and owner of the popular product review blog, Mom Does Reviews. For all the greatest tips on what to buy, why to buy it, and where to get the best deals, visit her blog.


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