Spring break is in full gear and many of you might have plans to travel by car. Did you know that car accidents are the biggest health risk for children? Before you head out on vacation, make sure your little ones are buckled up appropriately.
I remember riding home from the hospital after the birth of my first child. I made my husband drive so slowly and watch out for bumps because I was so worried about my baby being safe. Back then I did not believe car seats could be strong enough to protect my fragile baby.
Several years later my husband was driving with our three children when a teenage driver, who was “changing his radio station” rammed into the back of our Saturn. Even though the windows were blown out and the totaled car resembled an accordion, my children stayed safe because they were riding in appropriate car seats. Now I know that car seats not only save lives, but help prevent injuries.
Here are a few things to be aware of regarding car seats, which should always be placed in the back seat of your car:
*Babies from birth to one-year need to ride in infant-carrier seats and face the back, or rear, of the car.
*Infants one-year to around five-years can ride in convertible seats that face the front.
*Children need booster seats until they are either eight-years or 4′ 9″ tall.
*A new seat is best. If you are in an accident while your child is in the car seat, you need to replace it. If you can’t afford a car seat, call Safe Riders at 800-252-8255.
*Make sure you have installed the seat safely and securely. Most car owner’s manuals have instructions for placing car seats correctly. Seat checks and inspection stations are available if you would like to have a professional make sure the seat is put in the right way.
*Please check that arms, legs, fingers and toes are all the way inside the vehicle before closing the door. Check windows and child-proof locks, too. As the temperatures start to rise, like they do quickly in Southeast Texas, make sure the belt buckles are not too hot when you place your child in the seat.
*Never leave a child unattended in the car or allow him/her to ride in your lap while driving.
So before you set out to enjoy this beautiful weather, please make sure you have followed these simple steps for your child’s safety. Remember, these pointers are not only for highway driving, but for driving anywhere in your car- even down the street. Stay safe!
For a detailed listing of Texas car seat laws, click here.
For a list of car seat rules by state click here.