It was just a quick run to the grocery store to get milk. Normally, you would make sure your six year old was strapped in. But you were also strapped for time. So, you load him in the front seat next to you and vow to drive slowly and carefully. While you might do just that, how can you be sure another driver will be as careful?
Be smart, be safe
Strapping your child in their car seat in the single most important thing you can do before you get behind the wheel of your car--and most people know that a child under the age of four needs a car seat. But are you also aware that children up to the age of 13 need a restraint system other than a seatbelt?
Seatbelts were designed for adults: They sit high on our shoulders and across our laps to keep us from moving in the event of an accident. And they work well. But they do not work well for children, who are shorter and lighter.
The average seat belt on the average eight year old will fall right across the child's neck and ride high on his abdomen. In even a slow-speed crash, a seatbelt in that position can cause internal bleeding and spinal cord injuries.
Find the right car seat for your child
The only way to be sure your child is safe is to follow the Texas Department of safety guidelines. These guidelines recommend the following:
For children ages birth to 2 years and 25 pounds: Rear-facing car seats
For children ages 2-4 years and between 40-80 pounds: Forward-facing car seats
For children ages 4+ to 12 and 40 + pounds: Booster seats
Regardless of type of car set restrain system, children 13 and younger should always ride in the back seat.
Being safe is never a bad idea, especially when you are transporting something as special as your kids. Take the time to find the proper restraint system and use it faithfully every time you drive.