With road traffic injuries revealed as the leading cause of death in children, parents looking to hit the road this summer have been told how to ensure their kids are safe with heavy traffic and delays predicted.
Road safety experts at Road Angel have advised drivers on how to keep children safe in cars this summer and prevent motor-related injuries and deaths in youngsters.
Thousands of families will be taking to the roads this summer to enjoy holidays and trips, but driving can be stressful and anxiety-fuelled for parents and carers of young children.
According to the World Health Organisation, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5 – 29 globally. Road traffic incidents can be prevented through the proper use of safety features such as seatbelts and specialised car seats which offer better protection in the event of an accident.
Children can become restless and unpredictable in long car journeys, so parents must ensure seat belts and harnesses remain on whilst the car is moving. Drivers should pull over as soon as it is safe if kids become unbuckled.
Aside from traffic accidents, the hotter summer months bring additional risks for children who can suffer from dehydration, overheating, heat-related illness, and even fatalities with internal temperatures of cars reaching up to 50°C.
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Drivers must remain vigilant to keep children safe in cars
Gary Digva, founder of Road Angel, said: “Drivers must remain vigilant to keep children safe in vehicles this summer and stay aware of all the potential dangers. Travelling with children and infants can be extremely stressful for parents and carers, especially on long car journeys – trying to balance keeping them entertained, comfortable and safe.
“With the summer holidays about to commence, kids will be in the car with their parents more often while they run errands, so it is important to take all the necessary safety precautions. Important safety advice includes securely strapping children into car seats and investing in car accessories designed to make it easier to travel with youngsters.
“As well as this, children should never be left alone in a vehicle, as internal temperatures can reach over 50°C, putting young ones at serious risk of heatstroke, which can be fatal.”
Eight tips to keep children safe in cars this summer
Restrain in the seat securely
Having the correct restraints and car seats is crucial to keeping children safe in the car. UK law requires that all children travelling in cars are sitting in the correct restraints until they reach 12 years old or 4ft 5” in height.
Parents should ensure to avoid common mistakes made when using car seats – such as not tightening seat belts enough, harnesses not being in the right position, and incorrect head restraints.
The driver is responsible for ensuring any child under 14 is safely buckled up. Seat belts have been estimated to save tens of thousands of lives, so they offer an important safety system to prevent and reduce injuries in a crash.
If a child unbuckles their seat belt or harness while the car is moving, the driver must pull over as soon as it is safe to do so.
Use a rear-facing seat
Infants and toddlers should be strapped into rear-facing car seats because, in the event of a crash, the seat will absorb most of the force, supporting the child’s head, neck, and spine.
All infants and young children should ride in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible, or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer.
Never leave children unattended
Under no circumstances should a child be left unattended in a car. In summer months, the risk of a child getting heat stroke in a car is very high because internal temperatures can quickly reach over 50°C.
Even if a youngster has fallen asleep, or a parent is nipping into the shops quickly, children should never be left alone.
Invest in car accessories
Investing in vehicle accessories to support youngsters is well worth it. Gadgets such as baby mirrors are a great way to keep tabs on little ones when they are strapped into rear-facing seats without having to turn around.
Other accessories like seat belt strap protectors, side window sunshades and specialised car seats are worth looking into as they can help ease parents’ anxiety ahead of a long drive.
Take regular breaks
If heading on a long journey with children, it is important to take regular breaks. Aside from allowing them to stretch, it prevents driver fatigue and increases alertness behind the wheel.
Research also suggests that the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is higher if babies are travelling in an upright position for too long because of breathing difficulties. So, make sure to take plenty of breaks during long car journeys.
Check buckles on car seats
On hot days the buckles on safety restraints and car seats can overheat and cause injuries and burns to children.
Always check that they are not too hot before buckling in little ones. Investing in sunshades and parking in the shade to limit how much heat can get in the car is also a good idea.
Activate Safety locks
Safety locks prevent children from opening the car doors while it is moving. Anyone with young children should ensure that the child lock is activated in case young ones accidentally fiddle with the button.
To find out more about safety tips this summer, head over to https://www.roadangelgroup.com/.