Car safety
Car safety is a big issue. You might not think that it is directly related to childcare, but you need to be aware of the various risks involved when taking baby out in the car. Here are some car safety tips
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Car safety is a big issue world-wide. You might not think that this is directly related to childcare, but if you employ someone to look after your children, they also need to be aware of safety measures to take if they will be transporting your child or even accompanying you in the car.

Car safety measures:

Use the correct car seat for your child and car

Most importantly, use the correct car seat for your child and car. Not all seats fit all makes of cars so take the time to test out a couple and see which fits your car the best.

Once strapped in, the car seat should not move more than 2cm when pushed or ‘jiggled’. Check to see how well padded it is and does it provide sufficient side-impact protection.

Does your child sit comfortably in the seat? Let them test it out in the shop. How easy is it to install and remove from your car? How easy is it to adjust straps, to remove and wash the cover?

Ensure you know how to use the car seat

Ensure your caregiver knows how to install and remove the seat from the car, remove and replace the covers, strap your child in securely.

On that note, when strapping your child in, the straps should be tight enough that you cannot slide 3 fingers between the child and strap.

Remove any bulky clothing before strapping children in as these will compress in an accident and your child may well fly out of the restraints. Rather cover with a blanket OVER the straps.

Check the car seat on a regular basis

Check the car seat on a regular basis for wear and tear and damages. Follow manufacturers’ guidelines carefully when cleaning.

If you have been in an accident, even a minor one, replace your car seat. You can get this covered by your insurance in most cases.

Do not buy a second hand car seat where possible. If you have to buy a second hand seat, check carefully for damages, ask for a history of the car seat and choose as recent a model as possible.

The weight of your child and their car seat

Remember, your child should be rear-facing in an appropriate car seat till they weigh at least 10kg’s and are over 9 months old and sitting comfortably unassisted.

If possible, keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible – even past their first year. At this stage of development, children’s heads weigh more in proportion to their bodies than an adults, and they lack the muscle strength to control their head, especially in a collision.

Once your child outgrows their baby car seat you can move them to a toddler 5-pt car seat. Children should stay in a 5-pt car seat for as long as possible – until they are too big weight or height wise.

Then, until a child is about 10 – 12 yrs old they should use an appropriate booster seat to properly align the seatbelt.

Eating and drinking in the car

Be very careful allowing your child to eat and drink in the car. Not only does it make a LOT of mess, choking accidents can easily happen and by the time you have stopped the car, got out and un-strapped the child it’s already been 2 or 3 mins. Not fun and very scary and dangerous.

Keep your children occupied in the car with music or ‘I Spy’ games. Busy children are less likely to distract the driver.

Don't leave your child in the car

When you go shopping, or if you arrive home and your child is sleeping in the car, please do not leave your child in the car. This can cause severe damage or even death. Rather have a miserable or unhappy child than a dead one.

How long does it take for temperatures in a car to reach dangerous levels?

In direct sunlight in a closed car:

  • Outside temp 26C ~ rises to 38C in 5 mins
  • Outside temp 28C ~ rises to 45C in 8 mins
  • Outside temp 35C ~ rises to 71C in 20 mins

In direct sunlight in an open car:

  • Outside temp 26C ~ rises to 31C in 5 mins
  • Outside temp 28C ~ rises to 37C in 5 mins
  • Outside temp 35C ~ rises to 43C in 20 mins

In shaded area in closed car:

  • Outside temp 26C ~ rises to 31C in 5 mins
  • Outside temp 28C ~ rises to 37C in 8 mins
  • Outside temp 35C ~ rises to 43C in 20 mins

In shaded area in open car:

  • Outside temp 26C ~ rises to 27C in 5 mins
  • Outside temp 28C ~ rises to 31C in 8 mins
  • Outside temp 35C ~ rises to 40C in 20 mins

AND THE TEMP KEEPS ON RISING BY THE MINUTE

Please don’t leave your children (or animals) in the car for unattended for any period of time. Not even for 5 minutes. Car accidents happen so quickly and usually within a few km’s of home. Drive safely.

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