Anyone with children can tell you that everything changes when those little ones come into our lives. The everyday things we once took for granted look different. The safety precautions we may once have brushed aside become important.
Most people you talk to about having children have a story about driving with them for the first time. How incredibly different the act of driving becomes.
Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive, a local mechanic in Tyler, Texas, is trusted by multiple generations with their car repair. We know what it is to be responsible for driving precious cargo.
Driving with kids doesn’t have to be stressful and can be incredibly fun! Some of the best family memories can be made in the car.
Here’s a list of tips for driving with kids so everyone has a good time and gets home safely.
When you drive with kids, responsibility multiplies, and so do the distractions. Technology, snacks, toys, etc., are all elements that can take your attention away from the road for just the right amount of time to cause an accident.
There are a lot of situations you can’t anticipate. Still, to the best of your abilities, it’s helpful to have a game plan of the car’s setup and have necessary items easily on hand before you put the car in drive. Have the technology ready, the snacks on hand, and the toys available. This way, you can keep your eyes and mind on the road, your child has everything they need, and you don’t have to worry about getting distracted.
According to the National Safety Council, seat belts have saved over 370,000 lives since 1975.
On the other hand, car accidents are the top cause of death among teenagers, and statistics show that at least half don’t have their seat belts on.
The fact is, wearing your seatbelt can and often will save your life and the life of your child if you’re in an accident.
Starting early in your child’s life, make seat belt safety part of the routine. Talk to your kids about why seatbelts are important. Empower them to wear their seatbelts and see to their own safety, even if their peers choose to do differently.
Car seats are another way you can make sure your child is safe while in a vehicle. However, it’s important to research car seats and be sure you’re properly installing them. Also, make sure you’re following your state’s guidelines for age and weight when it comes to car seats and whether the child is old enough to ride in the front seat. Airbags can be potentially fatal for a child in the front seat.
Know when your child should be in a car seat or booster seat. Not only age but weight and height also factor in.
At this point, “Don’t text and drive” should be a given, but the fact is, we do so many things on our phones these days that the temptation of having your phone on and within reach is usually too much.
This is especially true if you live in a place where you’re commuting with kids in the car in heavy traffic on a regular basis.
It’s better and safer for the children if you turn off your cell phone or put it into airplane mode as soon as you get in the car. That helps ensure you won’t get distracted by each “ding” and put your family in jeopardy by taking your attention away from the road.
Another benefit of starting this practice is that you’re modeling safe driving for your child as they get older. Texting and driving make teenage driving exponentially more dangerous. If your child sees you model good driving habits, they’re more likely to do them as well.
It’s important to make sure you don’t allow your kids to be alone in or around cars.
Kids love buttons. But pushing buttons in a car can spell disaster. Especially if they lock themselves in the car on a hot day or while the vehicle is running—even if the air conditioner is on. Heatstroke is incredibly dangerous to children and can happen quickly.
It’s crucial you know where any kids are at all times when you move your vehicle. Too many injuries and fatalities occur when adults aren’t aware children are behind the car or truck when it goes into reverse or begins to drive.
Every time you move your vehicle, check and double-check that all children and pets are safely out of harm’s way.
Driving tired can be as bad or worse than distracted driving. According to sleep specialists, driving while tired has many similar effects on the body as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Even if it’s not in the plans, it’s better to stop and rest and even get a hotel for the night rather than risking the safety of your family by driving tired.
Driving with kids can be unpredictable. Kids have potty accidents, spill things, throw up, need to use the bathroom multiple times, etc. Especially if you’re going on a road trip and spending extended time in the car together, it saves a lot of stress to be flexible.
Know and prepare ahead of time for whatever contingency might come up…and then some. This will help make those road trip memories good ones.
For more questions about how to keep your children safe in the car, contact a local auto mechanic like Stewart’s Donnybrook Auto to create the safest driving experience for you and your family.