When you’re a new parent, your safety “radar” is always on high alert. Anything that could possibly represent a safety hazard for your child is suddenly magnified. A shoe left on the floor, a screen door that’s slightly ajar, small toys -- they’re all matters for concern. As such, it makes sense to pay the same level of attention to a child’s safety in your car. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye to even the safest, most conscientious driver, so pay extra attention to safety precautions and auto maintenance to minimize the risk of accident while you’re driving.
Car Seat Safety
Selecting the right child safety seat for your little one is the first, most basic step in protecting your child. There are several factors to consider, including size, whether it fits well and snugly in the back seat, and has good safety ratings. It’s a myth that any seat will fit in any type of vehicle -- it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation -- so pay close attention before entrusting your infant’s safety to a seat that isn’t a good fit. If you aren’t sure, ask someone at the nearest fire department or police station to inspect your seat and help you make any necessary adjustments.
No car can be considered truly safe if there’s an issue with the brakes. Well-functioning brakes are crucially important when you find yourself having to stop unexpectedly. Nonetheless, drivers often ignore this vital safety feature unless something is clearly wrong, such as shaking or vibrating or a high-pitched squealing noise is evident when the brakes are applied. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor: Make sure your brake pads are in good shape and replace old ones when they’ve clearly worn down. It’s one part of your vehicle that absolutely must be in excellent condition when there’s a little one in the back seat.
So much of driving safety depends on good, 360-degree vision. That’s why well-positioned mirrors -- rear view and on both sides of the car -- are so important. Mirrors have a way of being moved or knocked into and thrown out of adjustment, so always take a moment to check each one before heading into traffic. While you’re at it, make sure to install a back seat mirror that lets you keep an eye on a little one without having to move the rear view mirror out of position or take your eyes off the road, which you should never do while driving. Back seat mirrors can be purchased through most retailers, including Amazon and Target.
Alignment, Tires, and Rudimentary Maintenance
It’s a wise idea to have your tires rotated whenever you have an oil change. Many garages will do this for a minimal charge (some for free), so it’s well worth it, especially when you consider the wear and tear tires undergo. Also, pay close attention to your steering alignment and have it corrected if it feels off. These are simple maintenance issues that can make a major difference when you’re in heavy traffic or wet weather -- sometimes avoiding an accident comes down to a matter of inches and how well your car responds in a dangerous situation. At times like that, simple maintenance can pay off handsomely.
Just like in your home, keeping a little one safe in your car is all about anticipation and preparation. Stay ahead of regular maintenance issues and be very careful about the booster seat you choose for your child. You can’t be too safe when it comes to your kids.
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