Motor vehicle accidents represent one of the most common causes of serious injury and fatality among young children according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC notes that parents can take steps to significantly reduce these car safety risks for kids.
Whether you will soon become a new parent or simply want a safety refresher, these strategies can help your children stay safe in your vehicle.
1. Use a correctly installed infant seat
The CDC says that about 33% of auto accident deaths among children ages 12 and younger involved improper car seat or safety belt use. In addition, infant and toddler safety seat use can reduce accident injuries and fatalities by up to 82% compared to seat belt use alone.
Illinois requires the use of correctly fitting safety seats for kids up to age 8, including infant seats, child safety seats and booster seats. Infants should remain rear-facing until at least 2 years old.
2. Stress safety belt use
Parents can set a good example for older children with their own seat belt use. The CDC says that seat belt use reduces the risk of serious accident injury or fatality for kids older than 8 by 50%.
3. Avoid smartphone use
The Illinois State Police reports that smartphone use behind the wheel increases the risk for a serious accident by 400%. As with seatbelt use, parents can set a good example by avoiding distractions, which is especially important for teens who will soon become new drivers.
4. Reduce other distractions
In addition to device use, dangerous distractions can include eating, grooming or talking to passengers. Keep toddlers busy with safe toys and books when you drive. Make sure preschoolers and older kids understand the danger of creating a distraction.
5. Consider safety technology
Experts project that advanced vehicle safety systems can save thousands of lives by preventing auto accidents. If you plan to upgrade your car, look into models that offer driver assistance tech.
Research shows that these practices can help keep your kids safe as passengers in your vehicle.