Vehicle Safety for Older Children

  1. Involve children in family discussions about safety in all motor vehicles.
  2. Teach children that safety belts save lives and that an unbuckled passenger is likely to injure others.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. If carpooling, make sure that other drivers have the same rules as you do and that they enforce them in their vehicles as well.
  7. Limit the number of passengers you transport to avoid driver distraction.
  8. 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.
  9. Make sure your children always have money or a cell phone to call home for a ride.
  10. Always be a good role model by buckling up every time and require everyone in the vehicle to be properly restrained.