September is National Baby Safety Month, and that means it is time to recheck your habits when around children. Whether you have a child of your own, are taking care of a family member or friend’s child, or just want to be more safety conscious in general, don’t wait until something bad happens to educate yourself on how to be safer around children.
According to Safekids.org, “Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States.” That is why we here at Central Valley Nissan, your favorite dealer of new and used cars in Modesto, California, have gathered this list of child car safety tips that could save your child’s life. Read over these child safety guidelines and get on your way to being a safer and more conscientious child guardian.
Make Sure Your Child has the Proper Safety Car Seat
Nobody can predict an accident, which is why they are called accidents. Because car collisions are so often unexpected, ensure that you and your child are prepared by ensuring your child has the correct safety seat. All car seats are different, but most come with recommended height and weight guides to inform parents on which seat is appropriate for them.
In most cases, rear-facing seats should be utilized until your child is at least three years old. These are the safest seats for infants. After your child has grown to three years old, it is usually best to switch them to a forward facing car seat. After three years old, child growth is a little less predictable, so it is best to use the height and weight limits that are listed on the car seat to judge when it is time to move your child into a booster seat. This normally comes once your child reaches six years old or grows to about 65 pounds.
Your child should remain in a booster seat until he or she is tall enough to fit properly into a car seat. This means that the waist strap is around their waist and not their stomach, and the chest strap does not cross over their neck or head. Proper car seat safety could save your child’s life while using improper car seats or no car seat at all puts your child at extreme risk in the case of an accident or even a hard stop.
Ensure Your Child’s Car Seat is Secured Correctly
Each car seat is different, and there is no universal method to properly securing your child’s car seat. Upon purchase, your car seat will come with in-depth directions on how to strap the seat in.
Make sure you follow these directions thoroughly, as improper car seat security is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than using the wrong seat altogether.
The seat should have minimal wiggle room when secured correctly. The more stationary the car seat, the less whiplash and injury your child will be subject to in the case of an accident. If you need help securing your car seat, Safekids.org holds events around the country that will check your car seat safety. Otherwise, there are numerous YouTube videos and blogs for each car seat model that will take you in depth on the best way to strap in your car seat.
Also be sure to replace your car seat after an accident, as a collision could cause irreparable damage to the car seat and further endanger your child. Even if the damage is not fully apparent at the time of the accident, most car seats are not made to endure multiple collisions.
Never Leave Your Child Alone in Your Car
This tip seems obvious, but it is amazing how many children die each year from being left in a hot car for too long. No child should ever be left alone in a car, not even for five minutes. The above video was created by PETA and features NFL football player Tyran Mathieu. Tyran volunteered to attempt to sit in a stopped car for as long as he could, to demonstrate the extreme heat and suffocation that can occur when children or animals are left in the car.
On that average summer day, just two minutes after the car being turned off, the temperature inside the car rose to 97 degrees Fahrenheit, and within eight minutes, the temperature rose even further to 120 degrees. For this professional athlete, eight minutes was unbearable, and he had to get out of the car. For a child, this extreme temperature could be deadly, and they do not have the capacity to open the door when they can’t take it anymore.
Even if the temperature outside is not extreme, the car’s windows act as a magnifying glass for the sun, heating the car quickly and putting any living thing inside of your car at risk. Be safe and check your back seat for children or animals every time before leaving your car. Getting in this habit, even when you are sure there aren’t any children in your car, could save a child’s life one day.
Utilize Your Car’s Car Door Safety Locks and Power Window Locks
Child safety locks and power window locks are available in most car models and are invaluable when you are on the road with children in the back seat. Children are naturally curious and will pull any lever and push any button in their reach, which is why it is important to ensure that your back doors have the child safety lock and the power window locks engaged.
An unexpected door opening while on the road could cause accident or injury to your child. Likewise, power windows can pose a threat to children. Fingers and hands stuck in windows might cause a few tears for your young child, but more seriously, power windows can unintentionally strangle your child if he or she puts their head through the window.
Play it safe and engage the child locks on your car door and windows. Even the IIHS top safety pick 2015 Nissan Sentra can keep your children safe without a little help from the car owner. Make sure you take every precaution to maximize the safety features in your car and hit the road with children in the back seat and peace of mind in the driver’s seat.
Find Great Deals on Some of the Safest Cars on the Market at Central Valley Nissan
National Baby Safety Month is a great opportunity for parents and babysitters alike to review their child car safety habits. If you want to keep your child as safe as possible this year, make sure to stop by Central Valley Nissan for all of your car buying needs. We are conveniently located at 4530 McHenry Avenue Modesto, California, so drive by our showroom or give our sales team a call at (209) 526-3320 to get all of the information on our safest vehicles today.