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Safety

American Academy of Pediatrics

Safe Driving…A Parent's Responsibility

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  • You are your children’s role model. Wear your seat belt on every trip in the car. If you drive without a seat belt, your children will likely copy your actions. The lap/shoulder belt is also your best protection in the event of a crash.

  • For a proper seat belt fit, the lap belt should be worn low and flat across the hips, and the shoulder belt should be worn across the shoulder, never behind the back or under the arm. Teach older children to wear their lap/shoulder belts properly.

  • On every trip, no matter how short, make sure that children ride buckled up. Infants and children should be fastened in a properly installed car safety seat. Older children should ride in booster seats with a lap/shoulder seat belt until the seat belt fits correctly (usually at about 4 feet 9 inches tall or 8-12 years old).

  • NEVER put a child in a rear-facing car safety seat in the front seat of a car with a passenger airbag.

  • Car safety seats should be placed in the back seat because it is the safest place to ride. Infants and toddlers should ride rear facing as long as possible, and children should use car safety seats or booster seats as long as possible, until they reach the weight or height limit set by the manufacturer.

  • The rear section of a station wagon or the back of a pickup truck is the cargo area. No one should ride in a cargo area.

  • People thrown from vehicles are 25 times more likely to die. Proper use of car safety seats, booster seats, and seat belts helps prevent this danger in a crash or hard stop.

  • Take care to drive safely at all times as a good example for your children.

Patient education handouts from TIPP—The Injury Prevention Program help pediatricians implement injury prevention counseling for parents of children newborn through 12 years of age.

The information in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

© 2020 American Academy of Pediatrics. All rights reserved.

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