Being in a car accident is scary enough, yet having your kids in the car with you when it happens is horrifying. One significant way you can reduce risk of injury to your children is by ensuring that they are properly restrained. The proper restraint for each of your children may vary, as it depends upon the age and weight of each child. The State laws also vary on what age or weight your child must be to be in a car seat, booster seat, or to allow a lap belt.
While you cannot control how other people are driving, you can control the mandatory use of the proper safety restraint for all passengers in your vehicle. One way to ensure that all parties are buckled properly is by buckling young children directly, offering assistance to more independent children and confirming verbally and visually with older children and adult passengers that they are buckled.
Children tend to mirror your actions; so be sure to lead by example by wearing a seat belt any and every time you are in a vehicle. Do not use any excuse to not wear one; do not use jokes about how your parents never wore them. Take wearing your seat belt seriously and your children will likely follow suit. The consequences of not wearing a seat belt can be scarring – in more ways than one – so buckle up, always. Make it a habit regardless of your intended distance traveled to buckle up.
A good rule of thumb is that if your car key is in the ignition, you and all of your passengers need to be buckled. Some vehicles are now even utilizing technology to prevent you from being able to start the car until you are buckled.
Unfortunately, whether or not you or your children are buckled, accidents happen. Some people choose to drive while under the influence, and some people choose to drive recklessly. Though you may make safe and prudent choices, others don’t always follow suit. If you or your children are injured in an accident due to the reckless actions of another driver contact an Indiana car and truck accident lawyer for additional assistance on what steps you may need to take in order to best protect yourself and your children.
If your children protest the use of seat belts, as unfortunately some do, consider taking them to a local police station. Several police stations offer open houses to the public and feature seat belt safety demonstrations. If your local station does not offer an open house like that, you could either check out a neighboring police station’s open house, or call your local station to see if they would have an officer willing to talk with your children about the importance of vehicle safety.
Sometimes hearing the same idea reinforced by a police officer will be what is needed to persuade your children to buckle up for safety. If you do choose to utilize this option, be sure to pay attention to what key phrases the officer might say, like “buckle up safety” and then you can reuse those words later when you are reinforcing the behavior.
If you are in an accident and you and your passengers are all restrained properly you decrease the likelihood of death and injury. The simple act of buckling up, and using the proper safety device based on your child’s age and weight could prevent you from facing a life-long devastation. It is not a difficult or time consuming action, so make it a mindless automatic decision to just buckle up.