Car and Motor Vehicle Safety
Approximately 50 children under the age of 16 are killed in road accidents every year in UK and 500 seriously injured. In the US, Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for ages 3 to 14 (1350 in 2008). In the United States, this means every day an average of 4 children under 14 were killed and more than 500 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2008.
When travelling in a car with children it is even more important to drive responsibly, take no risks and take your time.
Arriving safely with the family at your destination is the goal. Use the following tips to achieve it!
Car and Motor Vehicle Safety Tips
- Children are best seated in the rear of vehicles if at all possible. Children under 13 should ride in the back as passenger air bags could seriously injure younger children.
- If an older child has to ride in the front then move the seat back as far as it will go but keep the airbag activated.
- If a baby's child seat MUST be positioned in the front, ensure it is rear facing with air bag deactivated
- Buy the correct car seat for your child's weight, height and age. Also be aware that certain car seats only fit in certain makes and models. Check before you decide to buy one!
- It is best to avoid buying second hand car seats in case it has been in an accident previously unless you are sure it has not.
- Always replace your child seat if you are in an accident
- Follow the car seat and vehicle manufacturer's instructions precisely for fitting of the child car seat. If you are not sure your local fire service or police station can probably help
- Drive responsibly with children. Stick to speed limits and leave plenty of time for your journey so you are not tempted to rush. Be extremely careful when driving in bad weather or snow. Considering postponing the journey.
- Ensure your car is in good shape and fully taxed, tested and insured.
- Check all tyres for wear regularly and make sure you have all necessary road kits in the boot/trunk.
- Spare warm clothing/blankets/food/water is useful in an emergency if you are travelling long distances especially in remote areas
- Have access to a mobile phone for emergencies and ensure you are a member of a road breakdown company callout plan.
- Children must use a seat belt every trip. This doubles their chance of survival in a serious crash.
- If you are changing car, look at independent safety reviews from REPUTABLE companies (i.e. one that has no financial interest in giving false information) as one factor in choosing your make and model. For the US Market the "Insurance Institute for Highway Safety" gives reliable independent data but it tends to be on higher value cars. In the UK, "Which" is a well respected source of independent information.
- Never drink alcohol and drive, especially with children in the car. Do not even have 1 glass of wine or beer, your concentration WILL be reduced