This article was originally published on PropertyCasualty360.com.
There are distractions inside the car, aggressive drivers on the road with you and weather conditions are just some factors to consider every time you step into your car. That’s why practicing safe driving is a must at all times. Not only are you protecting yourself, but also everyone else who is on the road.
Everyone who’s on the road isn’t always just the driver, however. More often than not, a vehicle is filled with a family headed to their desired destination. Spouses and children are inherently at risk, as well. With this in mind, there are tips you can take whether you drive by yourself or with your family to keep yourself and those around you safe.
Child Passenger Safety Week, which falls on September 17-23, 2017, is here and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has teamed up with the Ad Council to provide some evergreen driving tips. Here’s what you need to know:
Which car seat should you use?
Parents know that a standard seat belt is not suitable for an infant or toddler. As they grow, how they sit in your car will change. But until they’re ready, they should be in the car seat that’s right for them. But which is the right one?
There are four car seat types, and the ages they are often used from depending on the child’s size:
- The rear-facing car seat (birth to year 3) is the best seat for your young child to use. It has a harness and, in a crash, cradles and moves with your child to reduce the stress to the child’s fragile neck and spinal cord. There are three types of the rear-facing car seat: an infant car seat (rear-facing only), a convertible seat, and an all-in-one seat.
- The forward-facing car seat (year 1 to year 7) has a harness and tether that limits your child’s forward movement during a crash. There are three types of the forward-facing car seat: a convertible seat, a combination seat, and an all-in-one seat.
- The booster seat (year 4 to year 12) positions the seat belt so that it fits properly over the stronger parts of your child’s body. There are four types of booster seats: booster seat with high back, backless booster seat, combination seat, and an all-in-one seat.
- The seat belt (year 8 to year 13 and beyond) should lie across the upper thighs and be snug across the shoulder and chest to restrain your child safely in a crash. It should not rest on the stomach area or across the neck or face.
With so many options, knowing how to install a car seat properly is just as important. Information on installation can be found here.
Buckling up: A guide for pregnant women
Naturally, everyone in the car should buckle up and use their seat belt. But for pregnant women, under different circumstances, what should they do?
The answer is to always buckle up. Never drive or ride in a car without buckling up. Doctors advise that buckling up through all stages of a pregnancy is the single most effective action a woman can take to protect themselves and their unborn child in a crash.