Your baby will travel in a car from pretty much day one of their life, so it is a good idea to be prepared for this. There are different things you can do at various stages of their development to keep them safe and secure when you travel around.
There are a few tried and true tips regarding car safety, and this starts with getting car seats or boosters. But it isn’t just the equipment that will keep your kids safe in the car. So, read on to learn how to protect babies and children in the car.
Use the Right Seat
Babies up to around 2 years of age should use rear-facing baby seats, which should ideally be placed in the back seat. Be very wary of traveling with the little one in the front seat as the airbag could do more harm than good in the event of an accident. When they get bigger, they can transition to front facing seats.
There are some standard tips you should always follow when choosing a car seat:
- Try a few different seats before you buy
- Make sure you get the right seat for your child’s height and weight.
- Check to see if the seat will fit into your car
- Never buy a secondhand seat as it is impossible to check whether there is any structural damage
- Try to find recommendations from family and friends
Once you have purchased the car seat, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the safe installation. Look for seats with Isofix connectors, which will make life a lot easier when it comes to installing the seat.
As your child starts growing, they will quickly outgrow their baby seat. When this happens, you will need to purchase a booster seat for them. Booster seats help raise your child up to a height where they can use the car seatbelts. This is because car seatbelts are designed for adult use, and it is dangerous to use them without the booster seat. It is likely your child will need to use a booster seat until they are at least 8.
Develop Good Habits
Once your child becomes a toddler, it is a good idea to get them to develop good car habits. For example, don’t start the engine until the doors are closed, and everyone is safely strapped in. Make sure you act as a positive role model by doing the same.
Remember to always reinforce good habits by rewarding good car behavior. It won’t be long before proper car safety becomes second nature to your little ones.
Keep Them Occupied
As your children get older, they will need distractions so you can focus on driving. There are many things you can do to keep them in their seat and not feeling the urge to move around the vehicle. Music is always an excellent way to keep your children occupied, especially if you all can have a sing along while you are driving. Some parents opt for in-car video screens so that the kids can watch cartoons on the move.
Other options include chatting about your journey and playing games like ‘I Spy.’ However, if you have a tired and grumpy toddler, then it may be a good idea to pull over and give them some time to chill out.