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Children and motor vehicle safety

Parents these days are busier than ever and getting family members out the door and into the car can be a challenge. Frazzled or rushed parents may be more prone to making errors and slacking on safety. When it comes to children in motor vehicles, however, failing to take necessary and proper safety measures can be a matter of life or death.

Parents need to make sure all children in a motor vehicle are properly restrained. This means very young children need to be buckled securely into car seats and young children buckled in and using booster seats. Children should also always be seated in the back seats of vehicles. Due to their height and weight, if involved in a car accident, a child is in danger of being injured by a front-impact airbag.

Parents should also never leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle. Even leaving a child alone and unattended for five minutes can be dangerous. Temperatures rise quickly in a standing motor vehicle and children can easily become overheated during the hot summer months. Drivers who ever witness a child left alone in a vehicle would be wise to contact local police.

It's also a good idea for parents with children passengers to make sure items within the vehicle are properly stored and restrained. Items such as water bottles, toys and cellphones can become dangerous missiles during a car accident. Making sure that items are stowed away when not in use can help protect the safety of everyone in the motor vehicle.

Source: WAFF, "Keeping kids safe in car on vacation," Bobby Shuttleworth, "July 2012

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