With Christmas and the last week of the year upon us, most of us will definitely be planning to travel somewhere to celebrate, and chances are that many of our cars will have adolescent passengers.
Now, almost every parent out there knows that travelling with a child is not a walk in the park. For one minute, they will be happy and before you know it, they’re screaming their lungs off.
As natural as it is for kids to misbehave purely due to boredom or hunger, it is also very risky as they can distract the driver, which can end up in unwanted circumstances.
So, instead of dreading the long drive, here are a few tips which were shared by our friends at Ford Malaysia to keep your children safe, comfortable and happy in the car. At the end of the day, if they are happy, everyone will be happy.
• Set a good example
Safety consciousness stems from a child’s caregivers. It’s essential that the parents be good role models themselves. Despite all the technological advances, seat belts are still a top life-saving device in an accident so parents should always buckle up to set a good example for the kids.
• Establish the rules, Part 1: Inside the car
Parents should establish rules around roads and cars, and make sure they are followed by all. For kids old enough to understand, parents should declare the family car commandment of: ask permission first, whether it’s to open a window, a moon roof, or to change the music.
• Establish the rules, Part 2: Outside the car
Take note: Even when outside of the car, children are at risk for an auto-related injury, so never let them out of your sight when cars are present. Make sure all children hold a parent’s hand when vehicles may be present, whether it’s on a road or even when cars are parked.
• Keep the children comfortable and occupied
Make sure to have your child’s favorite toys (soft ones are better) and books to keep your child entertained, and help keep the driver focused on the road. Snacks and drinks will also help your child be less fussed. And don’t forget to schedule stops for bathroom breaks.
Also, one reason a child may be fussing is because they could be too cold or too hot, so parents should keep track of what the climate is like in the back seat.
Above all, never leave children unattended in your vehicle. Exposure to high temperatures for even a short time can cause death or serious heat-related injuries, including brain damage.
• Child seats are a must
Even newborns and young children should be properly secured in a rear seating position with a child safety seat that is designed for their age and weight. Some parents are tempted to hold their child in the front seat with them, but this is not safe.
In case of sudden braking, the force of acceleration can be as great as 4G, and holding on to a child is not enough.
Children should use proper child safety seats from the first time they get into a car. That way, the child will see their safety seat as a natural part of travelling in a car.
Even when you follow all the guidelines above, children may still grumble and wriggle in the backseat. But they are kids, and that’s what they do.
The next time your child starts to fuss, stay calm and find a safe place to pull over. And always be extra careful when there are children in the car.
To know more about child seats, how to install them, and the importance of these devices, you can always check out our demo video and guideline here.