We do our best to live ordered and organized lives… But kids are the physical embodiment of chaos. Just watch any elementary school playground and you’ll see the uniquely wonderful brand of chaos that young minds create, even with the loose supervision of adults. This chaotic play is a vital part of their learning experience, so we try not to get too bent out of shape when it results in a broken window, a smashed vase or a toppled TV every now and then. When it comes to the car, however, this is an area where one can never be too organized. Those of us with young kids know the ceremony that goes with taking a booster seat in and out of the car, and setting it up so that our children can ride with us safely. But with the Easter break upon us comes the inevitability of trips away to visit relatives or local attractions.
Since many of us will be driving further and for longer over the next couple of weeks, it’s a good time to run through some checks to ensure that your children are 100% safe in your car to give you complete peace of mind.
Make sure your skills are on point
When we’ve been driving for years, it’s easy to become blasé about the inherent risks of travelling at 80mph down the freeway in a metal box. Though most of us are much more mindful when our kids are in the car, we’ve also picked up one or two bad habits since we did our road tests. For this reason, it’s a good idea to start your online traffic school course with American Safety Council before taking your kids on a long road trip. There are different courses for different skill levels and can take as little as 4 hours. A tiny investment of our time and effort could make a big difference to our kids’ safety.
Ensure you have an age appropriate car seats
Car seats are notoriously tricky to install but they’re also a major contributor to a child’s safety risk in the car. All too many of us drive without an age appropriate child safety seat or without properly installing the car seat. At age 2 your child should be graduated to a front facing seat as they will have outgrown the head and neck support offered by a rear facing seat, putting them at risk of head trauma or whiplash. Remember that the safest place to put it is at the center of the rear seat.
Keep those coats off even if the weather is cold
While spring is peeking its head around the corner, some states are still gripped by intense cols. Nonetheless coats should not be worn by your kids as it increases the distance between their body and the harness strap, impeding the level of safety that it can provide.
Don’t give up the booster seat until your child has reached the right height
Kids who are small for their age may not relish the idea of sitting in a booster seat while their younger, taller siblings enjoy sitting in the “grown up seats”. Nonetheless, the decision to ditch the booster seat is not determined by age but height. Children should remain in the booster seat until they reach an appropriate height (around 4’9”) for an adult seat.