Summer means fun in the sun, freedom from schedules, bathing suits, barbecues, road trips...and a new set of worries. From sunburns to bug bites, the summer months are fraught with potential concerns, especially when you and your kids pile into the family car. Summer car safety should be in the front of your mind whether you're road tripping it or just driving a few miles to the community pool. So let's get started:
1. Make sure all car passengers are properly buckled.
Sarah Haverstick, safety advocate and certified Child Passenger Safety Technician for Evenflo, reminds parents, "Everyone in the car should be buckled up on every ride, and children should be in an appropriate car seat or booster seat. If you are not certain about the seat you have for your child or its installation in your car—you are not alone. Approximately 70 percent of car seats are not installed properly! The good news is there are over 37,000 certified car seat technicians across the U.S. that can assist you."
2. Secure potential projectiles.
According to Haverstick, "Anything that is not secured could potentially become a projectile in the event of a crash. This includes unoccupied booster seats, strollers, sports and outdoor equipment, or large bags." She offers these tips for securing potential projectiles:
- Place loose objects in the trunk.
- Buckle up unused booster seats.
- Store items (like bags and purses) on the floorboard of the vehicle or use cargo nets or shields in the back of SUVs.
- Use sunshades that come as window-clings, instead of those with suction cups or metal bars.
- Bring soft toy options to entertain small children, such as stuffed animals or soft covered books.
3. Prevent kids from overheating in their car seats or boosters.
Never leave a young child alone inside the car, where the temperature can quickly become unsafe. While driving or stopped, keep the vehicle cool and comfortable, and make sure kiddos stay hydrated in hot weather.
And did you know metal tongues on your child's car seat buckle may become extremely hot when exposed to the sun for an extended period of time and can injure your child upon contact with skin? Haverstick recommends the new harness buckle pockets on select Evenflo car seats that help store these metal tongues out of the sun. Or, you can cover the car seat with a blanket to hide it from the sun when you and the kids leave your parked car.
4. Be proactive about teen driving.
With kids off from school, they may be behind the wheel more, en route to summer jobs, off to the beach, meeting up with friends and taking day trips. That's why it's essential to frequently remind teens about safe driving habits, like wearing seat belts and not texting.