It’s that time of year again – yes, back to school! While you’re prepping your children with backpacks, school supplies and new clothes, it’s also a good time for parents to make sure your children are traveling safely.
Whether it’s to and from school, to daycare or extracurricular activities, child passenger safety rules are important to protect our most precious passengers. You might be following all of the rules in your car, but if you’re like many parents who car pool, you might not be as certain about your children’s riding conditions when you send them on their way.
Here are some things to request of your driver, or to make sure you do if you are the one transporting the group:
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that all children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat of a vehicle – so if possible, try to limit the number of children you transport to the number of rear seats in the vehicle.
- Make it a requirement for all children to wear a seat belt in the car at all times, and make sure there are properly installed car seats (based on the both the seat’s and the vehicle’s instruction manuals) available for all children who need them. For guidelines on appropriate safety seats based on age and weight, see the following guidelines from NHTSA. Depending on the child, some may need to use some kind of child restraint up to age 8 or 4’9″ tall.
- If children are required to cross the street from the car to their destination, make sure they are escorted. According to NHTSA, children usually don’t have the skills to cross the street by themselves until at least age 10.
- Every door should be locked once all passengers are safely buckled in the vehicle. If child safety locks are available, make sure they are in place.
- Fill out a contact sheet for every child in the car. Keep this information readily available in case of an emergency.
We hope these tips will help you on your way to a safe and happy Back to School season!