When you have a child, many things in your life will change. Automobiles, which only existed for your convenience, is not an exception. You have to have a fitting car seat for the child’s safety and reduce the sudden breaks you found it difficult to get rid of. As your child brings you greater happiness in life, so does your responsibility and concerns for the kid. Let’s look into some things you should surely be considerate of when driving for your child’s safety.
Have Different Car Seats for Different Ages
When you are riding in a car with a child, the traffic law stipulates that anyone younger than 6 years old must be in a car seat. When an accident takes place and you are holding the child, the child will absorb the physical shock the parent experiences which amounts to 7 times that of what the adult weight can endure. If the child is in the passenger seat with an air bag, the expansion of the air bag may break the child’s neck upon the accident or cover his/her face and cause choking; it is therefore safer to seat the child in the back seat.
Car seats differ in types and usage depending on the child’s age. Children younger than a year old and who weigh less than 9kg must have the car seat installed towards the rear in the back seat. The back support must be at a 45-degree angle while the head rest is adjusted to the child’s shoulder. In this way, the car seat will protect the child’s head and neck from the car’s shaking, and shock will be distributed to the back upon any accident, where the bones are relatively the strongest, to keep the child’s neck safe.
When the child is older than a year old (heavier than 9kg), he/she can use the car seat facing the front. Now you can drive while looking at the child’s smiling face behind you. The car seat still needs to be installed at the back seat, with the back support at a 90-degree angle. The shoulder strap connection should be above the child’s shoulders while the back support should come up to the child’s ears. Don’t forget to tighten the tie-down as well. All tie-downs should be tightened, with just a gap where one finger is enough to fit in.
Even when the child reaches 6 years, it’s recommended that the child uses a safety chair which enhances the sitting height, until he/she is 13 years old. The safety chair should have a knee belt and a shoulder belt, which will keep the child safe as the child will not be fully protected by adults’ safety belt.
From the age of 13 (heavier than 36kg), children can also put on adults’ safety belt. One thing you need to look out for is the safety belt getting tangled. If the safety belt is put on while tangled, upon any accident, the tangled knot can be pressured onto the body or the safety belt may be broken. And also make sure that the buckle is completely locked when putting on the safety belt for the safety of your child.
Do Not Leave a Child Alone in the Car
According to the traffic law, drivers and caregivers are to personally check the back seat passengers, but mistakes always happen. Accidents may take place if back seats are left unchecked. Recently, there are technologies being developed to safely protect children in the back seats.
Hyundai Mobis has developed ‘ROA (Rear Occupant Alert),’ which detects back seat passengers by radar. This allows detecting whether a passenger is still in the back seat when a driver is getting off the car. ROA notifies the driver via the dashboard or alert, etc., when there is someone in the back seat. If the driver still leaves the car without noticing it, the system will set off an alarm, turn on the head lamp, and send a text message to the driver to prevent any baby/child being left alone in the car which may lead to an accident.
Unlike the existing methods which detect passengers in the back seats via weight or ultrasonic sensors, ROA can even catch the subtle movements and bio-signals of babies in blankets or animals. Utilizing it in private academy transports, etc. is highly anticipated.
Check the Car Doors from Time to Time Even When Driving
A curious child shouldn’t be able to open the back seat door while a car is in motion. It’s also horrible to even think about someone who gets off in a haste when the car comes to a stop and doesn’t see another car coming from behind. If you have the Child Lock, a children protection safety device in the inside of the back seat door, get used to using it. Be wary of the windows, as well. It could also be dangerous for the child to have his/her arms or head out of the window.
Hyundai Motors has developed the safe exit assisting system ‘SEA (Safe Exit Assist).’ When a car approaching is detected from a blind spot as a passenger is getting off from the back seat after a car stopped, it will set off a warning and keep the back seat door locked to prevent any accident. The manual child lock that had to be operated from the back seat door is now changed to an electronic child lock that is operatable with the driver’s seat arm rest button, which makes it a lot more convenient.
Reduce Sudden Breaks and Acceleration
There are times when it’s inevitable to suddenly hit the breaks or accelerator. But as this may cause accidents because other drivers may not be able to predict one’s direction, he/she should avoid it as much as possible. Also, sudden breaks and acceleration are much more dangerous to the children sitting in the back. There’s a greater chance that one does not wear a safety belt in the back seat compared to the driver and passenger seats, and upon any crash, children, being small and light, are much more prone to being thrown out of the car. The risks of injury are always there. So, if you have a child, you must intentionally cut back on bad habits such as sudden breaks or acceleration.
Children must be protected and be kept in a safe environment. For them, who are always curious about the world outside the windows and who are growing fast, there are things we must remember and keep: change car seats as they grow to fit their changing body shapes, don’t let them open the door when a car is in motion, and do not leave them in the car alone. They are all mandatory habits for safety. The driver’s alertness and consideration will create a safe, fun car life for the children.