Automatic door locks, advanced airbags, interior trunk release, auto reversing windows, and rearview cameras are some of the latest advances in the vehicle designed with children in mind. This means at some point, enough children were hurt or injured, and car manufacturers took notice to make a change. Families head off to school, youth sports, simple errands, without giving much thought to the fact, that driving is the most dangerous activity they will do each day. September is National Child Passenger Safety Awareness Month, and it is a very good time to review the steps you should take to keep your children safe in the car.
- Prevent Lock-outs– Don’t let your kids play with your car keys, especially while in the car. AAA gets hundreds of calls per year from Parents for a “Lock-out” where the kids are still in the car and most under two years old. It happens, you put your keys in your child’s lap while you’re buckling them up, shut and lock their door only, to walk around and realize your door is still locked. Accidents happen, but make sure you keep your keys on you or do a quick key check before shutting the doors.
- Be aware of Smells in the Car – The smell of burnt rubber could be the slipping of driving belts or loose hoses, sweet syrup smell could mean your car is leaking coolant, rotten eggs could mean a problem with your catalytic converter failing or becoming overloaded. if you’re smelling something unusual in your car, and it’s not little Tommy’s sports equipment in the back seat, make sure to have your car inspected for damage or wear.
- Walking Around Cars – Teach your kids how to walk around cars properly. Treat parking lots like a street; look both ways before crossing, use crosswalks and sidewalks whenever possible, and be alert. Look out for reverse lights and walk down the parking lot aisles, not in between vehicles.
- Focus on the Drive – Set up the DVD player and navigation, make sure the kids have their snacks and headphones, and your phone is set to hands-free mode before you take the car out of park. Traffic can change in an instant, and it’s best to have two hands on the wheel and always be alert.
- Buckle Up – Set the example. Never move the car without all passengers properly buckled. Whenever you’re on the road, make sure your child passengers are buckled in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, or seat belts. The safest place for children of any age to ride is properly buckled in the back seat.
- Child Car Seats – Which is the safest? The truth is, there is no “safest seat.” Car seat manufacturers certify their car seats to meet federal standards. As a parent, it’s up to you choose the seat that fits your child correctly, it’s properly installed and compatible with your car, and you’re using it correctly every time. There are inspection stations and conventions held locally year round to help check that your car seat is correctly installed and is the correct seat for your child. Make sure your child is properly buckled every time.
Want someone to show you how, or double check your installation?
Putnam County Sheriff’s Department
Three County Center, Carmel, NY 10512
Monday thru Friday – 8 a.m to 4 p.m.
Contact: Sgt. Kevin Cargain at (845) 225-4300 ext. 209
Or Visit SAFE KID’S Check Up Event September 19, 2015, at Crossgates Mall
I hope you found these tips to be a great reminder of how to keep your child safe in and around the car, but don’t forget to keep your car in great shape too. All the tips above won’t help an under inflated tire, or worn timing belt. You have enough to worry about, bring your vehicle in today for a routine maintenance servicing and we’ll do our part to keep you and your family safe and on the road.