Driving Safely With Children in the Car
Driving with children, particularly younger children, can be an ordeal. Crying babies or fidgety children in the backseat can be a distraction from the road and a danger to both your young passengers and you as the driver. In addition, you can’t control what other drivers on the road are going to do, and that can be disheartening at the very least. However, you can take some simple steps to make sure that you and your children are safe on the roads. Read on for some of the most helpful, yet basic tips for staying safe on the roadways:
- Buckle up: it might sound overly simple, but it’s something so vital for safety while in the car. Unfortunately, many people still don’t practice this simple safety behavior, with an estimated 52% of passengers in car accidents in 2011 fatally injured because they weren’t wearing their seat belt. This is a particularly serious problem for teenage drivers between 16-19, with 42% dying in 2011 alone during a car accident because they weren’t wearing their seat belt.
- Unsecured items in the car: does your car resemble a junk heap? It’s not just unsightly to look at, it’s also dangerous while driving. Any one of those items lying around in your vehicle could potentially become a projectile missile in the case of a car accident. It’s best to keep your car clean and to secure any other items in the trunk, on the floor of the vehicle, or as close to the front of the car as possible.
- Make sure young children are seated in the proper car seat and that it is installed correctly: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that about 75% of car seats are installed incorrectly in vehicles. You can visit www.safekids.org to make sure your car seat is installed correctly. Also, don’t be in a rush to move your child up into the next car seat, as doing so could mean reduced safety.
- Don’t text and drive: this goes without saying. You can read the many, many blogs that I’ve written on the dangers of text messaging while driving.
- Never leave unattended children in or around cars: heatstroke has been in the news many times lately. It’s always a topic that sadly seems to come up during the summer months when temperatures climb, and parents may assume that their child will be safe in the car for a few minutes. More than 600 children died in cars between 1998 and 2013 from heat stroke. You can remind yourself that your child is in the backseat by leaving a toy or other reminder of their presence with you in the front seat. Another potentially situation to be aware of is making sure to check for children behind your vehicle before you back up. If you don’t have a back up camera, make sure to walk around your vehicle before getting into it and driving away.
With most kids going back to school in the next week or so, it is also important to remember to follow speed limits and be extra careful when at intersections. Children aren’t always fully aware of traffic safety practices, so it’s our job as drivers to make sure that we’re taking those extra steps to ensure safety. Parents, needless to say, it’s also important to teach your children basic safety rules like looking both ways before crossing the road and keeping eyes up and off of cellphone screens while walking near roadways.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.