It is very important to point out that, although keeping your children safe in cars usually requires some general measures (more on them later) some of them, like choosing the right restraint are very age specific.
- Rear-facing child restraints. They are usually meant for babies up to 13 kg. Although they can be replaced with group 0 child seats, the latter ones are slowly becoming a dying breed, so buying rear-facing restraints looks like the more worthwhile investment. Just make sure that the restraint is not used on the front seat.
- Forward-facing child restraints. The generally accepted time when you should move on to the front-facing child restraint is at the age of 2, but you should not make the change until your kid’s head is at the top of the seat.
- Booster seats. They are usually used if your kid is too big for restraints, and still too small for the regular safety belts.
- Safety belts. Similarly to front-facing restraints, the recommended age when your kid should start using safety belts is 12, but you will know that it is ready when it is able to keep its back against the seat and naturally bend the knees over the seat’s edge.
Get to Know Your Car Better
Of course, no matter how well restrained your kid is, its safety will lie in the hands of the driver. That is why you should do your best to get to know your car as much as you can. Not only how it handles on the road, but all of its small quirks you may have previously missed. The Tyreright blog features a great article about the things you probably did not know about your vehicle's tires. Use that as a starting point and work your way from the ground up.
Install a Rear-View Camera
The backseat of your car can offer your kid relative safety only in the case of a front collision. Unfortunately, if you are driving an SUV or high-riding pickup the back of your car will be threatened the most, due to poor visibility. Although very useful, side mirrors cannot fully solve this problem, so installing a rear-view camera seems like the only sensible solution.
Monitor Your Kid’s Behavior
Even if your kid is restrained during the drive that does not mean it cannot find a way to hurt itself or cause you to accidentally do that instead. Power windows are the first thing that comes to mind. That is why your kid should never be left unsupervised. If your spouse or elder kids are not there to take on this non-gratifying duty, you will have to sacrifice your rear mirror to get a casual look on what is happening back there.
Do Not Leave Your Kid in A Closed Car for Too Long
Finally, we have to mention one unsuspected, and unfortunately very frequent threat to your kid’s well being, and that would be the harsh climate. Keep this in mind, cars are nothing but metallic cans; if you leave them unvented or turn off the air-conditioning, they will heat up pretty fast. Exposing kids to long drives in such environment, or even worse, leaving them locked up in there can cause a heat stroke, and, in the worst case, a premature death.
These are some of the things you should pay attention to if you want to keep your kids safe. Driving is already a very demanding task - Do not make it riskier and more stressful than it is supposed to be, especially if the ones who are threatened the most are your kids.