Planning a getaway with your kids? Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for all children. Protect your most precious cargo by following these easy tips from AAA:
Traveling by Car?
- Involve your children early on when planning a road trip, which will help keep their interest during the trip. Show them your route on a map and let them help decide places to stop including landmarks, hotels, and restaurants.
- During your trip, give your children a map so they can see where you are and how far you have until you reach your destination. This will help with the “are we there yet” question.
- Keep children interested and involved in your road trip with a ready selection of cards, maps, family games, sing-along CDs and activity books — especially ones with references to your destination. This will help keep them occupied and create more interaction among family members.
- As everyone knows, children can be a distraction in the car. If there is another adult passenger, it is best to let them handle most of the interactions with the children.
- When choosing activities for children in vehicle it is important to remember that loose items in the car can be thrown or become missiles in the event of a crash or sudden stop. Be sure to secure loose items including DVD players, laptops, iPads, purses, CDs, umbrellas, holiday gifts, etc. in either the trunk, in a console or under a cargo net. Only provide children with soft toys and games to play with in the car.
- Get proper rest. Set aside time to pack your clothes, load your vehicle and get a full night’s sleep for you and your family so you can all set out fresh and rested. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsy drivers are a factor in nearly 17 percent of fatal crashes, with one in ten drivers admitting to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once this past year.
- Buckle up, and make sure all passengers are secured properly with safety belts and age-appropriate child safety seats before you head out on your trip. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3 out of 4 safety seats are not installed correctly. Contact your local AAA club to have a licensed child passenger safety technician inspect your child’s safety seat for proper installation.
- If you are unsure about the child passenger safety laws in either your state or those that you will be travelling through, visit DrivingLaws.AAA.com. It is important to remember that laws often provide the minimum protection; for maximum protection you should follow best practice recommendations. To view these and learn other helpful tips, visit www.AAA.com/CarSeat.
- Try to do most of your traveling during daylight hours, when visibility is best. If you find yourself driving into the glare of a rising or setting sun, consider taking a break until lighting conditions improve.
- When traveling by RV, make sure passengers buckle up in approved seating locations.
- Driving in the Winter? Visit the AAA Exchange for tips.
Traveling by Air?
- If flying, bring your car seats with you. You will need to check the label of your car seat to see if it is certified for use on aircraft and has met the FAA inversion test criteria. If it is approved for use on an aircraft, you can secure your child and help protect them from unexpected turbulence.
- Car and booster seats can be checked for free when traveling. . Bringing your own car seats with you helps make sure you are familiar with how to use the seats and you know they are safe and clean to use.
- If you are not able to bring your car seat with you, you may rent one from a car rental agency. Through a partnership with Hertz, AAA members receive the free us of one car seat with every rental. For more information about using your car seat on an airplane, you can access the FAA’s site here (http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/crs/)
- Booster seats may not be used on an airplane because they require a lap/shoulder belt, so it is a good idea to check it when traveling.
- If traveling internationally with your children, be sure to bring all birth certificates, passports and documentation with you. Single parents traveling with children should bring a letter signed by the other parent giving permission for travel listing dates, location and names of those in the travel party. For more information on children traveling alone, visit the AAA Exchange