Summer is the time when many families pack up the minivan or the SUV and take to the highways for vacation, so it's time to pay extra attention to the safety of our littlest passengers.
Parents and caregivers who may be driving kids around should check out this list of 10 "kids and cars" safety tips, on everything from choosing the right safety seat option, to preventing injuries from power windows -- even tips for avoiding little-known hazards like backovers and trunk entrapments (with links to more information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
If anyone has to use the bathroom, go now, because we're not stopping until we get to the end. . .
1. Securing Infants (Rear-Facing Seats) - Always keep babies in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep babies rear-facing until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds. More: Rear-Facing Infant Seats.
2. Using Toddler Seats (Forward-Facing Seats) - When babies outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should ride in a forward-facing toddler seat, in the back seat, until around age 4 and 40 pounds. More: Forward-Facing Toddler Seats.
3. Using Child Booster Seats - Once toddlers outgrow a forward-facing seat (usually at age 4 and/or 40 pounds), they should be in a booster seat in the back seat (until a seat belt fits properly). More: Booster Seats.
4. Kids and Seatbelts - Usually by age 8 or when they are 4'9" tall, kids can use seat belts in the back seat, as long as the belt fits properly. More: Seat Belts.
5. Power Window Dangers - Many kids are injured when power windows close on their fingers, wrists, or hands. Some kids have even been strangled by power windows. Get injury prevention tips: Power Windows and Kids.
6. Vehicle Backovers - A backover incident usually happens because a driver coming out of a driveway or parking space backs doesn't see a child. Learn more: Backover Accidents.
7. Seatbelt Entanglement Injuries - Child passengers can become injured if they pull the seat belt out and it wraps around them. Learn more: Seat Belt Entanglement.
8. Heatstroke and Hyperthermia - Children can suffer heat-related health problems and even death from heatstroke if they are left unattended (or become trapped) in a vehicle. More: Hyperthermia and Heat Stroke.
9. Vehicle Rollaways - If you leave a kid alone in a car with the key in the ignition, the child may accidentally or intentionally set the vehicle in motion. More: Vehicle Rollaway.
10. Trunk Entrapment - Children playing games like hide and seek near unattended parked vehicles can sometimes get trapped after climbing into the trunk. Learn more: Trunk Entrapment.
(Note: Some information above provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)