Taking care of your kid means also taking care of his/her safety, when driving together. Statistics is very sad. It shows that, unfortunately, around 3 thousand people die in car accidents every year in Canada, including 750 kids aged 13 and younger. Nobody is 100% protected from a car crash. No matter how well you drive, there are other drivers on the road that can be less careful. That is why you have to take care of you kid by providing maximum protection while being in the car.
Basic rules for deriving with kids
Car safety begins with parents’ awareness. In order to protect your kid, you have to know what restrictions exist and follow the rules. There are the following rules and restrictions in most countries, including US and Canada:
- Seat kids that are younger than 12 in the back seat;
- Use restraints corresponding to age and size of the kid;
- Follow both car manual and kid restrain manual;
- Buy a car that has high crash test rating;
- Do not leave kids alone in the car.
Today cars are produced with consideration of providing extra safety for kids. They are equipped with the best safety systems and airbags that protect adults in the event of car accidents. However, safety protector and airbags are dangerous for kids and in some cases can be even lethal. That is why it is a legal regulation in many countries to keep kids under 12 years old in the back seat using kid’s restraints.
How to pick up the right restraints for kids
You will agree that it is safer to ride when kids are sitting at the back seat, using kid restraints that correspond to the kid’s age and size. When kids become old enough, they start using safety belts for adults. Luckily, the market offers a wide range of restraints for kids in terms of price, style and features too. For example, you can turn around to face forward certain models of rear-facing restraints, when the kid becomes older.
- Rear-facing kid seat/ restraint . This type of kid restraint or a seat is designed for babies and young kids up to 2 years old. Rear-facing should not be put in the front seat. It is recommended to keep kids in rear- facing seat as long as possible to ensure maximum protection. When kids become big enough for restraint’s height or weight limit. Detailed instructions with pictures are usually indicated in the manual that goes together with the seat. You can also check the label of the seat – it might contain info too.
Pay attention to seats for infants, which usually are fixed to the base attached to the car. It is important to make sure that the seat and the base are connected well to eliminate any damage to the kid.
- Forward-facing kid seat/ restraint . Rear-facing kid seat is replaced with forward-facing seat when kid reaches 2 years old. Ideally, it can be used until the age of 7 years old. These type of seats are used with special seat’s harness and hold kids up to 40 pounds. Pay attention that the seats might have different weight limits with maximum weight up to 80 pounds. In order to fix the kid you need to route the harness through the slots above kid’s shoulders. For proper fixation and protection make sure that the harness is snugged and the chest clip is placed at chest or armpit level.
- Booster seat . If a kid is too big for kid restraints, he or she is put into, so-called, booster seat. Booster seat provides good protection until the kid reaches the weight and height parameters to use kid safety belt. The shoulder belt in booster seat should be placed crossing the chest and out across the shoulder near the kid’s neck. The kid should be sitting straight and put knees at the edge of the seat.
- Safety belt . Seat belts can be used once the kid reaches certain height. If your kid can keep the back against the seat in the car feet on the floor, you can start using seat belts without any hesitations. However, it does not mean that the kid is old enough and does not need help of adults. Safety belts must be used correctly to ensure protection. It should not be placed behind the kid’s back or under the arm. The belt should be placed across the chest and out across the shoulder near the kid’s neck.
- Lower anchors and tethers for kids
In some countries the authorities oblige manufacturers of cars to install the system called “a lower anchors and tethers for kids” or simple LATCH in cars. The system helps attach kid restraints to the seat of the car. To find out whether your car has LATCH system, check car manual. It is also possible to use safety belt to back up kid seat. LATCH is usually used with forward-facing kid restraints. The tether strap on the kid restraints should be attached to a tether anchor in the car and placed behind the seat. However, many cars are not equipped with LATCH system in the rear middle seat. If this is the case, you can use safety belt, and top tether, if you are using forward-facing restraints for your kid.
Safety seats and kid restraints will reduce the injury and protect you kid only when used properly. Once you have bought one of these safety tools, read the manual to be sure that you understand how to use it.
It is important to use the right safety seats and kid restraints but in case of very serious car crash, you might get injured. This is the reason you should consider buying a crashworthy car. Check the list of car with the best crash test ratings. These cars are usually more expensive that average ones but when it comes to safety, there should not be any hesitations.