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How to Kidproof Your Car

Like any parent, I was so very worried about car-safety when it was time to bring home our son. Now, I’m facing the idea of bringing home baby #3 and I need a refresher on How to Kidproof Your Car. Thank goodness I have my son to help me out.

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  1. Use the right safety equipment for your kid’s size. When we adopted my son, he was just under 60 pounds and under the age limit for a booster seat. He’d never sat in one, but it was the safest way for him to travel. When my daughter was born, I invested in a rear-facing car seat. Now that my son is bigger and over the age-limit, he doesn’t sit in the booster and my daughter, now that she’s big enough, sits in a front-facing seat. We all have to do it. For every kid.
  2. Talk to your kids about seat belts. Even little ones–the message sinks-in. The biggest reason my son puts his seatbelt on FIRST THING when he gets in the car is because his dad and I have talked to him about it. Well, according to him it’s a little more dramatic than that. You can see what my son had to say in this quick video:
  3. Use the child-locks. Child locks are great. Once, when I was about 10, I was being babysat during the summer by a nanny in her home. She actually babysat about 5 kids, including me and my brother. On the way to the store one day, one of her charges opened the car door with all of us kids on the backseat together–not a one of us buckled. I was the oldest and I was the ONLY reason that little girl didn’t fall out of the car and possibly die, because I jumped across the seats and yanked her back in and closed the door. Use the child-locks.
  4. According to my son: Follow the speed limit. I used to work with a bunch of engineers that designed roads. I learned that they don’t set speed limits arbitrarily. They actually assign speed limits based on a road’s design, meaning roughly that to keep your car as safe as possible, going around that curve at 45 when the sign says 35 might cause enough centrifugal force to roll your car. It’s possible that there was a time when cars had no speedometers and speed limits weren’t as slow as they are now. According to my son, that was just like in the 80’s when I was a kid. You can see him blithely make it sound like I’m older than the Model T in this clip:
  5. Give them something to do. You don’t want your toddler figuring out how to unbuckle, right? I sure don’t! That would be a tragedy. So, keep your kids entertained. That doesn’t mean that every trip has to include screen time or anything fancy, but it does mean we parents should totally make sure they’re engaged. If there’s anything I’ve learned, one of the funnest ways to engage my son is to talk. I just don’t want little hands to be idle.

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Kids can be so funny when explaining things like kidproofing a car. That’s why we don’t let them design cars, right? Better to let their actions influence auto-design like GM designers and engineers do with their own experiences with their kids. They’ve thought about kids in everything from the location and design of cupholders to the type of fabrics they put in their GM models. Heck, they even designed plastic backing for the seat backs with kids in mind.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.