How to Keep Your Baby Safe When Traveling
Three years ago, I became a mum for the first time. When I started out I was panicking about everything. I didn't get a moments sleep, not because of the crying, but because I had to keep checking on her every twenty minutes. It became an obsession, until my husband sat me down and talked some sense in to me. One area however that I still obsess over is the level of safety in the car. It is important to protect your little one when driving.
The Car Seat
Car seats are one of the best ways to limit the amount of child deaths in motor vehicles. The government released a statistic that states that 12 children under the age of 10 years are killed every single day on British roads. Make sure you are using the correct child seat and that you are using it correctly.
Under 3 Years Old
The law states that a child cannot be placed in a rear-facing child car seat if the car is fitted with an airbag. This is for obvious reasons. The child will be in real danger if the bag ejects itself at any stage. All seats will have instructions with them - which will differ depending on the car seat itself. Read these instructions and ensure you follow them to the letter.
Above 3 Years Old
A child requires a restraint from the age of birth up until the age of 12, or until they reach the height of 135cm. There are cases when a child (up from the age of 3) may not require a seat, but these are rare and have only became allowed by law for practical reasons - they aren't recommended for safety reasons. They are:
- If you are in a taxi or other privately hired automotive then you don't need a child seat.
- If you find yourself and the child on an unexpected (but necessary) short journey.
- If you have three children but only two car seats as only two will fit in most standard vehicles.
In any of these events, seatbelts must be worn as with any other human. And remember it is the driver's responsibility that child passengers are properly and safely restrained in the vehicle.
Your Car Itself
Be careful when buying a car if you have little ones. When I gave birth I had a little Smart car. It was great for getting around the city, (it's a dream to park) however for a child, was totally unsuitable. There is no rear seats and so would be illegal for me to carry my child in the car, even with the legal car restraints. I had to think about getting a new car. I plumped for one of the new Clios - which I love just as much. I did have to get a loan but it's relatively easy to find reliable car loans online from reputable sources.
The best advice I can give, is to read the instructions and the safety manual. My new car even came with a safety manual for that particular model of Clio on how best to use a standard car seat. Even with this though you need to study the one that comes with your chosen car seat (you can expect to pay anywhere from £30 to £100). Best of luck with the kids and I hope you don't have to hear "Are we there yet?" too often on the way to the beach.
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