Vehicle Safety for Older Children
- Involve children in family discussions about safety in all motor vehicles.
- Teach children that safety belts save lives and that an unbuckled passenger is likely to injure others.
- Make sure the shoulder belt fits correctly across the center of the chest and collarbone, and the lap belt remains low and snug across the hips / upper thighs, and that good posture is maintained.
- Make sure both the lap and shoulder belts are used. A lap belt alone does not provide adequate upper body protection. Putting a shoulder belt behind the back or under the arm can cause severe injury.
Teach children to counter peer pressure with the facts, such as: "Your best defense in a crash is wearing your seat belt" and "You are more likely to be killed in a crash by being ejected." A properly worn seat belt protects them in 5 ways:
- Prevents ejection from the vehicle. Ejected occupants are 4 times more likely to die.
- Contacts the strongest parts of the body.
- Spreads the crash forces across the child's body.
- Provides "ride-down" in a crash. (Ride-down is the extension of time during a crash that the forces are experienced by the occupant. A quick change in speed is what causes injury. Safety belts and child safety seats are designed to help slow down the body in a crash. )
- Protects the child's head, neck, and spine.
- If carpooling, make sure that other drivers have the same rules as you do and that they enforce them in their vehicles as well.
- Limit the number of passengers you transport to avoid driver distraction.
- Create a list of car rules with your children so they know what is expected. Discuss who your children are allowed to ride in a car with, when they should refuse a ride, and that buckling up is always required.
- Make sure your children always have money or a cell phone to call home for a ride.
- Always be a good role model by buckling up every time and require everyone in the vehicle to be properly restrained.