The safety of your children is of course very important to you. You would never knowingly do anything to harm them. But, there are times when people are trying to be safe but are still accidentally putting children at risk due to lack of knowledge about whether something is safe or not. Let's go over car safety and how kids can be kept safe. Car Seats First, every child should have a car seat. This is needed from infants until a child is at least 12 years old or tall and big enough that the seat belt can fit them properly. A seat belt should lie across the upper thighs and shoulder in a snug manner. Seat belts do not go across the chest and stomach. In addition, children should always ride in the back until they're adult size because it is safer. There are two basic types of car seats: * Infant seats - These are for children who are under 12 months of age and are rear facing. You can buy seats which are only for infants or that adjust for older children. However, keeping them in a rear facing position is the safest. Do this as long as you can find a seat that is appropriate for their height and weight. Be sure to post the limits of your car seat somewhere prominent so that you don't forget. Note: If your baby is premature, there are special seats for them called car beds. * Toddler seats - These are sometimes called booster car seats. They should only be used for toddlers who have reached at least 30 lbs (check your model's instructions). Once you move to a toddler seat your child will be able to use this seat until they're approximately 80 lbs. Your child should be using a booster seat until they are close to five feet tall. Some children will graduate to regular seat belts as young as 8, while some will not until they are 12. Another important factor to remember for car seats is to always read your manufacturer's instructions as to who it's meant for and installation. Some local communities offer proper installation help through fire stations and other local organizations. Other Car Safety Issues * Kids in the car alone - As tempting as it may be to pop in someplace quickly, leaving children in the car is a very dangerous practice. Many things can happen in a split second. Just don't do it. If you can't take them in, don't leave them and do your business another day. * Power windows - Power windows offer a child lock safety feature. It's important to activate this feature because children have been killed because of power windows. Either they made the window go up and down and got caught, or a parent wasn't paying attention and rolled the window up while their child's head was out the window. * Keeping Your driveway safe - Children don't think when they get behind or in front of a vehicle in a driveway. However, it's not only important for the adults to pay attention, it's also important to teach your children not to run in front of or behind any vehicle, whether it's parked or not. * Trunk safety - Children are curious by nature, and if they can get into a small space and shut it they will. Many vehicles now come with glow-in-the-dark pulls that open the trunk from inside. If yours doesn't have one you can get one. Teach your children about the pull cord just in case they ever find themselves inside a trunk.
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