Parents will do anything to keep their children safe. Still, when a parent is behind the wheel, their mind can shift from keeping their child safe to the road in front of them and driving safely. Keeping some basic safety tips in mind can help parents keep their children safe while they are in a vehicle, and set a good example for them on how to keep safe in the future. Below, our Georgia car accident lawyer advises on the best ways to keep your children safe any time they are in a car.
Utilize Child Safety Locks
It is of critical importance to use child safety locks on all doors and windows any time a child is in the vehicle. Children can trigger a power window unintentionally, resulting in their hands, arms, fingers, or even their heads getting pinned. Children are also very tactile and they love to touch just about anything in their surroundings. If their door is not locked, they may open it unintentionally, which could have catastrophic consequences. As such, it is best for the driver to always have total control over the operation of the doors and windows.
Give Toys, Not Food, for Distractions
It is very tempting for parents to give their children some food while they are in a car. Not only can this provide a distraction for kids, but it is also sometimes necessary, such as when the whole family is going on a long road trip. Allowing a child to eat in the vehicle though, is more dangerous than it may seem. For example, a child may begin to choke and the parent, who may be focusing on the road in front of them, may not notice right away. Even if they do, stopping immediately may not be an option.
Try to give children toys to distract them while in the car, making sure children have eaten before they get into the vehicle. If necessary, such as when you are going on a long road trip, try to provide safer snack options, such as applesauce, pudding, or yogurt.
In Georgia, it is the law that everyone buckles up any time they are in a vehicle. Remember that one seat belt is only meant to be used by one rider, and it must fit snuggly to work effectively. Never allow a child to ride in a vehicle unrestrained and always make sure you wear your seat belt as well, as this will model good behavior and provide a good example for your child.
Use Appropriate Car Seats
The type of car seat a child needs will depend on their age. During infancy, children should face the rear of the vehicle. As they get older, usually when they become a toddler, they can sit in a forward-facing car seat and when they outgrow that seat, they may also need a booster. Always make sure your child is sitting in the appropriate car seat for their age and make sure it is installed properly, or it will not work effectively. Also never use a car seat that is used or that has been in an accident.
Use Safe Seating Arrangements
Not only should children be placed in appropriate car seats, but it is also important that children sit in the appropriate place while they are in the vehicle. In the majority of cases, children under the age of 13 should only sit in the back seat. When there is no back seat, such as in trucks, children under the age of 13 can sit in the front, but they must use the appropriate car seat for their age.
Focus on Good Driving Behaviors
Of course, one of the best ways to keep children safe while driving is to exhibit safe driving behaviors. Never use your phone while you are behind the wheel, as it is not only against the law but can also cause a serious accident. Also never drive while impaired as this too can cause a very serious accident and the charges for drunk driving can increase to child endangerment. By focusing on the road and using good driving habits, you will keep everyone in the vehicle safe, including your child.
Talk to Children About Behavior in the Vehicle
Children themselves can become a major distraction while in a vehicle. They can become rowdy, play loud music, or watch a tablet or other device loudly. Talk to your children before getting into the car about how all of these will distract you, which is also very dangerous. Ask them to try and behave and remain relatively quiet so you can focus on the road and get everyone to your destination safely. To keep children from acting rambunctiously, particularly when there is more than one in the vehicle, give them toys, games, or other distractions that can help keep them quiet.
Place an Important Item in the Back Seat
There is a reason Atlanta has been nicknamed “Hotlanta.” It becomes very warm in the city, and throughout the entire state. While the beautiful climate is something many Georgia residents love the most about living in the state, it can be deadly for a child that is left in a hot vehicle. Always place an important item, such as a purse, wallet, or cell phone in the back seat, even if you think there is no way you could ever leave your child in the vehicle. Parents are very busy people and too many children die from heatstroke every year. Taking this small step can save you a lifetime of grief and guilt.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta After a Crash
Parents can take many different steps to keep their children safe while they are in the vehicle, but they cannot control the actions of other drivers. If you or your child has been hurt in a crash, our Atlanta car accident lawyer at MG Law can help you obtain the financial compensation you and your family deserve. Call us today at 404-982-4219 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.