How to keep children safe on board a car

Children are often the most vulnerable passengers in any type of car or vehicle. They are also very curious and are always moving around which increases the chances of them doing something dangerous, such as opening windows, getting their heads caught in something or rummaging around the car only to fall down when the driver speeds up or suddenly stops.

So how do you keep your children safe on board a car? Carmudi PH has gathered some of the most practical tips to make sure that your children will be out of harm’s way while enjoying the journey.

Install child seats

BMW child seat

If you have a new born child in your family, you may want to install a child seat so you can place them inside the vehicle without needing another adult to watch over them in the back. One of the most common safety features in new cars today is the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, or LATCH, which is very easy to setup.

To secure your baby (or toddler) in the car seat, make sure that his or her back and bottom is flat. The straps must also be tight and the harness clip goes around your child’s shoulders or armpits. Buckle them up first before placing the blankets or coats over the harness. The straps must be snug, with no twists, and with no more than one finger’s width of slack. When you are buying child seats, make sure to first check the weight limit of the seat. If it’s too big for your child, you may want to upgrade to a booster seat.

Teach them to always use seatbelts

Teach your children to use seatbelts

If your child is already at the age where he or she can comprehend simple instructions inside a car (preferably ages 7 years old and above), teach them from an early age to always use seatbelts every time they get into a car. The best way to show them how to put on a lap or shoulder seat belt is to lead by example. You cannot expect your children to be safe conscious if you yourself are not.

It is likewise important to teach them the significance of putting on seat belts. Some children, after all, find it uncomfortable and may not continue this precautionary practice. As much as possible, let them seat in the back row until they are at least 13 years old. The rear after all is a much safer position especially during frontal crash accidents.

Give them something to entertain themselves with

Mother and child in airplane

Children are always curious and looking for things to do. They get bored easily and often want your attention. If you are at the wheel, this may cause you to be distracted. Give them something to play with in their seats, preferably a toy that is appropriate for their age. If you have an in-car entertainment system, such as a DVD player, you can play their favorite cartoon program.

However, make sure that you teach them first how to sit quietly and calmly. Also, the toy should not promote any active behavior from your child, such as toys that are thrown or those that can easily get him to get off the seat to play it.

Keep dangerous objects away from children

Untidy car interior

If your car has a lot of stuff in its cabin you may want to put it away in the trunk. Part of a child’s psychology is to be curious. Keep diaper bags, pursues, anything sharp and metallic out of reach of children. Often, children ask you to reach for objects inside the car. If you are driving, simply refuse and explain gently that being distracted can pose danger for the both of you and any other passengers inside the vehicle.

Large loose objects such as large containers, toolboxes and other heavy objects should be secured or tucked away in the trunk. This is a precautionary measure so that in case of a collision, fewer objects can strike or flatten other vehicle occupants.

Never leave your child inside a car alone

Child at car window

Some parents are very confident to leave their child for a short time in a closed vehicle. Whether it is picking up your other child at school or even if your car has just broken down, doing this is not advisable. This is especially true during summer or any other day when the climate is hot. There are exceptions, however, such as if the weather is worse outside (i.e. if it is raining too hard).

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