Protecting Children While Driving: What You Should Be Doing

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A new report found that one in five parents of young children willingly admits to not adhering to safety rules when it comes to car pooling, such as allowing children to ride without a car seat, booster seat, or even a seat belt. An alarming number of parents, one in four, admits to failing to secure their children’s seat belts for ever ride.

Even more alarming is the fact that three times as many parents, a staggering 61%, claim they have witnessed other carpooling parents doing the same, according to recent report released by Safe Kids Worldwide. Funded by the General Motors Foundation, the report was based on an online survey of 1,000 parents of children between the ages of four and 10.

The actual number of carpooling parents who neglect or fail to use restraints properly is unknown.
Kim Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids WorldWide, estimates that between 20 – 60% percent of parents bend the safety rules in regards to carpooling and driving with children. However, Carr encourages parents to be uncompromising in regards to safety the safety of their children, and others’.

The reason for this negligence? According to the study, a lot of parents say it’s due to the short duration of the ride, or if the child is alone with them in the vehicle. However, Carr urges parents to remember that accidents happen when they’re least expected, and stresses the importance of making safety a priority. Carr goes on to suggest that carpooling parents should develop a plan together in advance to ensure that every child has a seat belt, and if necessary, a car or booster seat.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends keeping every child in a booster seats until he or she is big enough to be properly secured by the seat belt. In order for a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt should lie snugly across the upper thighs of the child, not the stomach. Also, the shoulder belt must like snugly across the shoulder and chest area, and must not cross the neck or face. It is safer for children to ride in the back seat, adds the NHTSA.

In addition to ensuring that both child and adult passengers are safely and properly secured, it is also imperative to practice routine vehicle maintenance and repairs. It’s been estimated that close to 77% of vehicles on the road are in need of some form of repair or scheduled maintenance. Regardless of driving skills, drivers and passengers are not safe unless a vehicle is in good condition.

It’s important to have your vehicle’s tires and brakes routinely checked to ensure they are in good working order. Something as trivial as dirty air filters can significantly impact your vehicle’s performance, and therefore safety.

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