For most families, taking to the road is pretty commonplace this time of year, and so too is the rise in mishaps on the road.
Considering that a car seat could mean the difference between life and death, ensuring the proper selection and use of these lifesavers is every bit as important as ensuring the roadworthiness of your car.
- Also see: Car seats and safety
From birth until your child is big enough to wear a seat belt, there are a few different types of car seats to keep him safe on the road.
Babies have to start out in a rear-facing car seat, since that’s the safest position for their heads, necks, and spines in case of a crash.
Once children are old enough and big enough, they can switch to a forward-facing position.
Eventually, kids move on to a booster seat, which lifts them so that the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly.
Nevertheless, many parents don't adhere to these guidelines and consequently put their children's lives at risk.
Here are four common mistakes parents make when travelling with kids in cars.
Moving your child out of the booster seat too soon. Seatbelts won’t properly protect a smaller person in the case of an accident as they are designed for bigger people.
What to do: Wait until the lap portion of the booster seat fit across the hips and not the abdomen. The shoulder belt should fit centered on the shoulder.
The seat or straps aren’t tight enough and if this is the case, the seat will move and the child won’t be protected.
What to do: Ensure the seat doesn’t move around and check that the harness straps are tightly fastened.
Don’t turn your child forward-facing too soon as young children are safer and better protected in the backward-facing position in case of a crash.
What to do: Wait until your child is two years old before turning him or her forward-facing.
Allowing your child to ride in the front seat if he is under 13 as front seats are designed for larger bodies. In the case of an accident air bags can also cause serious injuries to growing bones.
What to do: Wait until children are in their teens to allow riding in the front seat.
Watch this video on how to choose the right car seat:
What's your pet peeve about other road users who drive dangerously with children?
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