Car safety for kids is important, and is truly a life or death situation. With several different generations of people living on the planet at the same time, it can be tough to know who to listen to.
Parents are saying, “We never even wore seatbelts and I’m alive.” Grandparents are saying, “I held my baby in the front seat of the car and everything was fine.” Then, you have your friends saying, “You have to get this brand car seat because it’s the best!”
Instead of giving you another opinion as to what you should or shouldn’t do, here are 5 things every parent should know about car safety for kids to make the most informed decision for their child.
#1 Child Mortality Rates
This is one of those disturbing topics that nobody really wants to talk about, but it’s important for parents to know the child mortality rates of kids under the age 15. In fact, car accidents are the most common form of mortality in children under the age of 15. Several thousand children die every year. Here are the major reasons death has occured:
- Most children who have died were not wearing seatbelts.
- Half of them were not restrained properly.
- About 15% of them are sitting in the front seat.
- About 13% were driving with someone under the influence of alcohol.
#2 Not all Car Seats are the Same
Although it isn’t accurate that you have to have the best of the best when it comes to brands, not all child car seats are the same. When choosing a car seat, you want to ensure the following before purchasing:
- It needs a state label that says it meets or exceeds federal motor vehicle safety standards.
- The seat must fit the child. Not too big or too small.
- Never use a seat older than 6 years or one that has been in a car accident. If it has been in a car accident, make sure to check to see if your car has been totaled. You will also need a new car seat.
#3 Babies are Fragile
Babies and even toddlers have not fully developed. In fact, when we have our baby, we instinctively know to hold the back of our child’s head and neck for support. When it comes to keeping your baby or toddler safe in a car accident, rear facing seats are designed to protect the head, neck, and spine from jerking around and snapping. They also distribute the effects of the crash across the shell of the car seat instead of on the child.
#4 Airbags are Dangerous
Mom and Grandma may not have ever had to worry about airbags being in the front seat as they help their infant, but in almost all modern cars, there are airbags. Airbags can save lives and are definitely a feature we want in our vehicles; however, they can be very dangerous for children under 12! Because a child’s bones are not completely developed, it is harder for them to maintain an upright position. Without a good position in a car crash, airbags can cause broken bones and in children concussions.
#5 Seat Belts Can Be Dangerous
In a car accident, seat belts tighten around the body to prevent it from being able to move. This is a safety measure that keeps children above 4’9 in their seat and without injury. However, seat belts can be dangerous for younger children. In fact, because they tighten around the body, if a child is too short and the seat belt is around their neck in the event of an accident, it can cause seat belt strangulation.