Keep Kids Safe in Car Seats this Holiday Travel Season

If you’ll be bundling up the family and hitting the road this holiday season, make sure your infants and toddlers are safe and secure in their car seats before you head out on your merry way.

Here are four ways to help prepare for a safe ride for your smallest passengers:

Give your car seat a checkup. According to Safe Kids, 73 percent of car seats aren’t installed or used correctly. The organization offers a 15-minute car seat checklist to help you ensure your precious cargo is riding safely.

Ditch bulky winter coats. Yes, it’s cold outside, but puffy winter coats just don’t mix with car seats. This Consumer Reports post says that as a general rule, “winter coats should not be worn underneath the harness of a car seat.” A bulky coat means the harness could be ineffective in a crash, even leading to possible ejection from the vehicle. For safety’s sake, buckle your child in without his or her coat. Help your child stay warm by putting the coat on backward (after harnessing in) or keeping a blanket in the car for just this purpose.

Don’t be in a rush to turn the car seat toward the front. Although it might seem that your two-year-old is ready to face forward and see everything you do, there’s no harm in keeping them rear facing a bit longer. According to carseat.org, “convertible safety seats can be used facing the rear up to 35-45 pounds.” Even if your little one’s legs touch the seat, you can still keep them turned to the back until they’ve reached the upper weight limits. In fact, “leg and foot injuries are more common in children facing the front of the car.”

Snack while you’re stopped. While it might be tempting to allow your toddler to snack the car ride away, it’s probably not the best idea. Any food can be a choking hazard if too much is consumed at once, something toddlers are notorious for. Even if your little one is a responsible eater, a sudden stop could cause food to be inhaled, resulting in a choking hazard. If snacking is a must because of the length of your trip, be sure to include rest stop visits in your travel planning.

Where are you and your family heading this season? What are your tips and tricks for a fun, safe ride for the whole family? Share with us in the comments.

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Photo credit: nerissa’s ring

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  1. Thank you so much for this article! Car seat safety is such a hot topic for me and my family. They think I’m crazy that I keep my almost 3 year old rear facing. It’s great to see this information being widely circulated 🙂

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