Car safety refresher: 6 important tips every parent should re-read regularly
We all know that driving with the kids isn’t an easy task.
Long journeys and even quick trips to school can be a nightmare, depending on who's in a mood, who's crying over a lost sock and who wants to listen to Let It Go for the fourteenth time.
Keeping your eyes on the road (and on the kids) can sometimes seem impossible and, with countless trips to school, football practice, play dates and Granny's house every week, it's easy to get complacent about car safety.
We thought these tips for mums and dads were worth brushing up on - a handy reminder that keeping your little back seat drivers safe when they are in the car should be a constant focus.
1. First things ﬁrst - buckle up! The only thing worse than having an accident when driving, is having an accident with kids in the car. Seat belts are the best way to protect from harm but they are not designed to ﬁt children. To ensure a seat-belt ﬁts your child correctly, you must use a booster seat or a car seat. All children under 150cms in height or 79lbs in weight must use a car seat or booster seat. Seat belts should always be fastened by adults.
2. Double check: You might think that age or maturity determines when a child can give up their car seat or booster but this is not the case. Even when your child is over the suggested measurements, it’s worth double-checking they’re ready for the booster seat to be binned.
Ask yourself; Does the belt ﬁt securely? Does your child sit all the way back against the seat? Can your child stay seated with belt fastened for the whole journey? By law, seat belts need to be worn at all times, by all passengers so set a good example by always wearing yours and fastening it up before you turn on the car.
3. Back seat please. Although there is no law against children sitting in the front seat (provided they are in the correct restraint system) its4women.ie recommends children under 13 always travel in the back of the car. It’s best practice as it keeps them away from the airbags and the dashboard. It is illegal to use a rearward-facing child car seat in a passenger seat protected by an airbag. The deployment of an airbag where a rearward–facing baby seat is in place can cause serious injury to the child. There is now a penalty for drivers who place a rearward-facing child car seat in the front where there is an active airbag.
4. Best behaviour. All body parts should remain inside the car at all times whether you’re driving or parked. Loose items can be dangerous if there is an accident so think about safe options. On long journeys, take a break every 90 minutes or so, this will help to keep kids well behaved so the driver can focus on the road.
5. Arriving at your destination. The most important thing here is to ensure that child locks are used so kids can’t open the doors themselves prematurely. It should be understood, particularly with younger children that only adults are allowed to open seat belts and doors. Finally, always ensure you let kids out of the car at the kerbside, away from approaching trafﬁc.