All parents want to be as safe as possible when driving with their baby on board. While most parents know the basics; that children and adults alike need to be using restraints, there is a lot of important car safety information that could help protect your child that you mightn’t know about.
While you don’t ever want to think about your child being involved in a crash, the time to think about it is when you’re looking at buying a new or used car. The structural integrity of the car you choose can make the difference between life or death in a serious collision. It’s important to choose wisely.
But how do you know which makes and models are safest? First, check the car’s ANCAP rating (or the equivalent in your country), then check the UCSR (used car safety ratings) if you’re looking into a slightly older model. The UCSR helps you to identify safer used cars based on statistics collected from car crashes between 1990 and 2016 where someone was killed or seriously injured. Over seven million police-reported crashes were analyzed in the latest UCSR so it’s information you can trust.
It’s also a good idea to look into the UCSR of your current car to weigh up how safe it is for you and your family. You may be thinking about buying a new car when you see the statistics.
Child Seat Safety
While the law has certain requirements when it comes to where, when and how your children are seated in the car, certain positions are less than ideal. While not illegal, forward facing seats in the front seat are not ideal for toddlers so always use the back seats for all children under five if you are able.
Before your baby is moved to a safety seat, they should be able to sit and control their head. Children between 6 months and 4 years need to be seated in a properly fastened and adjusted approved child restraint with an inbuilt harness. Keep in mind that children aged between four and seven years are not permitted to sit in the front seat of the car unless all other positions are already occupied by younger children.
Extra Tips to Keep Your Child Safe in the Car
- Always activate childproof locks on your car doors so that your child can’t get out when the car is moving or at a stop.
- Always keep loose items in the glove box or boot behind a barrier. Loose items can fly about in a crash and seriously increase the risk of injury to you or your child.
- Make sure your child keeps their arms, legs, and head inside the car when it’s moving or at a stop.
- Help your child in and out of the car on the kerbside, away from traffic.
- Never drive unless all seatbelts are buckled and secure. If your child fiddles with the straps or removes them, pull over and bring the car to a stop and do up the belt again.