A big part of parenting is doing everything in your power to keep your children safe. For families in Georgia and across much of the United States, motor vehicles are part of everyday life. Unfortunately, they are also one of the biggest risk factors for the minors in your family.
Accidental death related to motor vehicle collisions is the leading cause of death for children, with roughly one in five juvenile deaths stemming from collisions. There are certain steps that you can take to minimize the risk to your children when you travel together.
Kids create chaos, so plan to leave early
As a parent, you already know that it can be nearly impossible to predict the actions and moods of your children from one moment to the next. An unexpected tantrum or a fight between siblings could eat into your schedule and leave you vulnerable to the stresses of running late for important meetings or the beginning of the school day.
When you feel stressed because you are not on time, you are more likely to speed and drive aggressively to try to make up for lost time. By intentionally budgeting an extra five or 10 minutes for any trip you take with your children in the car, you reduce the risk of running late and making questionable safety decisions because you feel compelled to exceed the speed limit.
Make sure restraints are correct and properly installed
One of the most tragic things about child motor vehicle deaths is that many of them occur in vehicles where parents thought they had done everything right. Improperly installed car seats are as dangerous to children as inappropriate car seats.
You want to make sure that your booster seat or car seat is secure before you start the vehicle. You also want to make sure that you continue to put your child in the right kind of restraint as they get bigger. They will graduate from full restraints to booster seats when they leave toddlerhood. Many grade school children resent sitting in a booster seat, but a booster seat directly impacts the safety and functionality of the seat belts for the children in the vehicle.
Without those proper restraints, a child could wind up hurt by a safety belt or, worse, the safety belts could fail to work properly, leaving the child at risk of being thrown from the vehicle in a crash.
Don't let your kids distract you when you drive
One of the biggest risks on the modern roadway is distraction that takes your eyes or mind off the road or your hands off the wheel. From a skipping DVD in the vehicle's entertainment console to complaints about the song on the radio, your children may demand attention and action from you when you drive.
Make sure that they understand that you are not able to look at them or make changes to the entertainment once the vehicle starts moving. If you routinely enforce this rule so that the children understand you must stay focused on the road, it will be easier for you to keep your attention on the job at hand, instead of on the momentary demands of your children.
No matter how careful you are about driving and how much you try to protect your children, vehicles are still a place where they are vulnerable to serious injury. If you wind up in a crash caused by someone else that hurts your children, you may have the right to take legal action against the other driver involved. Sitting down with an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney is often the first step toward the compensation you need to cover the injuries your child suffers.