Driving a car, in theory, is already a nerve-wracking and stressful activity. Add rowdy kids to the mix and the situation can become even more difficult, due to the distracting nature of their horseplay. There's no denying it--paying attention to the road and to the kids is a trying experience. Read these tips to find out how to keep your pint-sized passengers safe and sound, for any trip at any age.
Buckle up, every time: Even if you're just going down the street, all passengers should buckle up every single time they ride in the car, and you should, too. Make it a point to not shift out of park until everyone is buckled in.
Always supervise: Teach children that cars are not toys and that it's important not to engage in monkey business inside or outside of the vehicle. Also, leaving a child in the car even for a few minutes can be dangerous--or even deadly, depending on the weather. Not only risky, in some states leaving kids unsupervised is against the law. Take the time to bring them in with you, or leave them at home with a sitter.
Purchase wisely: Never buy a car seat from a thrift store or any source that prevents you from finding out the seat's condition and crash history (car seats that have been in a crash should not be used again). If you're buying a car seat second hand, check the expiration date and be sure it is in good condition and includes all parts.
Check your seat: According to the nonprofit Safe Kids Worldwide, 73 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly. Be sure that you have the right-size car seat for the child's age, weight and height, and that it's installed properly.
Follow age recommendations (even for tweens): Infants and toddlers up to 2 years old should ride in a rear-facing car seat; children ages 3 to 5 should ride in a front-facing car seat. After age 5 (or when your child outgrows the car seat), be sure to use a booster seat until your child' seat belt fits properly. Last but not least, all kids should ride in the back seat until they are 13 years old, even if they are the same size as you. Before age 13, kids' skeletons are not fully developed and the risk of serious injury is much greater if they are in the front seat during a crash. For more information, visit the CDC website here.
Use safe diversions: Try to avoid any hard-edged toys in the car - they can cause injuries in the event of an accident - or anything that could potentially be distracting to the driver.
For any auto insurance questions, call or contact Mathews Insurance, Inc. today.