SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. Executive Director Stephanie Tombrello describes car safety basics for the whole family, and offers tips on how to ensure your family's safety while in the car.
Hello! I am Stephanie Tombrello, Executive Director of SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. We've been talking about the importance of buckling up everyone in your family correctly, and protecting them in the car. Now we are going to talk about a few important car safety tips. It's very tempting when a coworker or a relative calls you with the news that they have a safety seat that they've been using and they'd like you to use it for your new baby. However, you need to know a lot before you take a used seat. First of all, every safety seat has its birth date on it, and it's recommended that people not use seats that are more than six years old. So you need to know the date of manufacture of the seat. Also there are what are called safety seat recalls. If the person who owned the seat didn't register it with the safety seat company, or didn't hear about the recall for some reason, you may be taking a seat that has a problem. Finally, because about 90% of people who use safety seats for their children make errors usually inadvertently. You can't just take the word of the person who owns the seat about the right way to use it. You need to have the full instructions. Many times it's a good idea to get a new seat anyway, because technology is always improving and there are lots of new features in the newer seats. When parents and other adults are taking children in the car, they often like to take some toys along. Also they'd like to do errands and pickup things from stores. Sometimes they don't think about what would happen if they were a crash or someone hit the car, and these toys and groceries can become missiles. Remember, at 30 miles an hour, everything that's unrestrained is going to move in the direction of the crash at 30 times its weight. So always think about storing objects such as groceries, tools, sports equipment properly in the car. If you have a separate trunk, use that. If you don't look into getting proper kind of netting or barrier to keep the missiles away from your family. Be sure that if you can't afford a built-in DVD or other entertainment system that you not place an ordinary television set in your car. Those become tremendous missiles, and we have had children who were killed, because their car was hit and the television set flew through the car. Never leave a young child alone in the car. There are many reasons for this. First of all, the heat build up in the car is very quick, and young children have a hard time coping with heat. So don't leave a child alone in the car. Secondly, you can leave them at the time when it's a cold time of the year, and they can become hypothermic. So that's a risk. You may think that you are only going for a minute, but sometimes what happens is someone else gets into your car while you are taking that one minute running into the post office, and takes your car with your child in it. On the other hand, we have situations when with slightly older youngsters, where they get into the car by themselves, and if they are used to getting into the front seat, they will generally try to get into the front seat and play with the steering wheel. We like to think that anyone who is transporting our children is going to do the same kind of good job that we intend to do. However, many times relatives, caregivers, babysitters, daycare providers, don't have the appropriate training in child passenger safety to know how to do it properly. Be sure that you know how your child is being transported when that youngster rides with someone else. There are many aspects of keeping your family safe in the car. We have covered the basics of child passenger safety, and how to keep your family safe in the car.