Home » Smart Travel

Keeping Kids Safe: 12 Tips for Child Car Safety

Submitted by Janette Fennell on December 8, 2011 – 11:48 am

It’s easy to get caught up in our daily routines. Take one kid to school; drop the other at daycare; get to work on time. Rinse. Repeat.

But what about when that routine changes or when you have a million different things on your mind — bad things can (accidentally) happen. Read these rules for keeping your kids safe. 1 Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.

2 Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and always set your parking brake.

3 Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.

4 Make sure all child passengers have left the vehicle after it is parked.

5 Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and peri­ods of crisis or holidays.

6 When a child is missing, check ve­hicles and car trunks immediately.

7 If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out as quickly as possible. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

8 Use drive-thru services when avail­able (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.).

9 Use your debit or credit card to pay for gas at the pump.

10 Put something you’ll need, such as your cellphone, handbag, employee badge, lunch or brief case, etc., on the floor board in the back seat. Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination to make sure no child has been left behind. This will soon become a habit.

11 Keep a large teddy bear in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the teddy bear in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that anytime the teddy bear is upfront you know the child is in the back seat in a child safety seat.

12 Make arrangements with your child’s day care center or babysitter that you will always call them if your child will not be there on a particular day as scheduled. This is common courtesy and sets a good example that everyone who is involved in the care of your child is informed of their whereabouts on a daily basis.

Ask them to phone you if your child doesn’t show up when ex­pected. Many children’s lives could have been saved with a telephone call from a concerned child-care provider.

Give child-care providers all your telephone numbers, including that of an extra fam­ily member or friend, so they can always confirm the whereabouts of your child.

For additional information about ways to keep children safe in and around vehicles, visit www.KidsAndCars.org.

— Janette Fennell is the founder and execu­tive director of KidsAndCars.org, a national nonprofit child safety organization dedicated to preventing injuries and death to children in or around motor vehicles.