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Child-proofing your home is a given, but have you considered the importance of child-proofing your car? Cars are dangerous places for kids. Because your kids spend so much time in the car being shuttled from one place to another, think about how you can make it a place of safety, especially for the littlest ones. To help you get started, here’s a brief guide on how to child-proof your car for on-the-road safety.
Mind the Locks
Small children can’t resist fiddling with buttons, switches, and levers. Because of this, you’ll need to keep on top of all your locks. Ensure all the window and door locks are activated so that your kids can’t make the windows go up and down or pop open the doors while the car is in motion. Some car windows provide an auto-reverse feature that causes the window to stop and open if it encounters an object. Regardless, don’t give kids the opportunity to get their hair, heads, or fingers stuck in a closed window; lock them in place instead.
Never Forget the Keys
Vehicles are always a big hit with the kids, and after watching you drive so effortlessly, they may think, “Driving doesn’t look so hard!” Don’t leave keys where kids can access them, and never leave the keys in the ignition. The basics of driving are easy for kids to figure out—it’s when the vehicle starts to roll that they lose their thinking skills, start to panic, and end up rolling the car into a ditch, another car, or worse. Keep your keys in your pocket whenever you’re not in the car. Even without the keys, remember that kids can take the car out of park, causing it to roll down a hill. Always secure the emergency brake.
Pick the Right Car Seat and Place It Correctly
Make sure you choose the right car seat for your child’s age. Infant car seats are simple enough and are best suited for children up to 40 pounds, though most outgrow such seats before then. Infant seats are always installed in reverse. Convertible seats are ideal for kids between 40 and 50 pounds. Finally, booster seats are good for kids up to 80 pounds who have yet to graduate to the front seat. Be sure to follow the installation instructions to the letter, and always keep seatbelts locked and out of reach from kids who might get dangerously tangled up in them.
Take Care of the Car
Here’s a final tip on how to child-proof your car for on-the-road safety: keep it in good shape. You should already be bringing it in for periodic checkups. Change the oil and filter every 6,000 miles, replace the air filters when necessary, and make sure the tires are in good shape, properly inflated, and regularly rotated. Be ready for any accident or inconvenience with a roadside emergency kit. Better yet, keep your kids in mind while you drive and always practice safe driving habits. Remember that they’ll be drivers themselves someday, and they learn from you.
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