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Automotive Articles >> Child Safety

Do's And Don'ts To Help Keep Children Safe In And Around Vehicles

(NAPSI)-Just as you take certain steps to make your home safer for kids, you also play a role in making vehicles safer for children, whether you're on the road or at home. Here are common-sense measures you can take daily to help keep kids safe:

On The Road

DO secure infants in rear-facing child safety seats, in a back seat whenever possible. Rear-facing child restraints are designed for infants up to at least 20 pounds, around 19 to 26 inches in height and up to at least 1 year of age or older if the child restraint will allow. Never put a rear-facing child restraint in front of an active air bag.

DO secure children at least one year of age, who weigh between 20 and 40 pounds or more, and up to around age 4, in forward-facing child safety seats properly secured in a back seat whenever possible.

DO secure children who weigh between 40 pounds and 80-100 pounds in a belt-positioning booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt in a back seat whenever possible.

DO make sure that older children who have outgrown booster seats properly wear the vehicle's safety belts-and that all children 12 and under ride in a back seat. Crash statistics show that they are safer there.

DO encourage kids over 12-if they must ride in the front seat-to sit up straight and all the way back in the seat with the safety belt properly fastened.

DON'T allow kids to put the shoulder belt portion of the safety belt behind their backs or under their arm. This prevents the safety belt from providing proper protection during a crash.

DO always use safety belts and insist that all passengers (including adults) wear safety belts. Kids learn by example.

DO use new child safety seats whenever possible and install them according to the owner's manuals for the seat and your vehicle. If you use a previously owned child safety seat, make sure it has not been involved in a serious crash, is not missing parts and has not been recalled. To find out if a seat has been recalled, call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Auto Safety Hotline, 1-888-327-4236 or on the web, go to cars/problems/recalls/childseat. cfm. In addition, at child seat check up events around the nation, the Safe Kids Buckle Up Program, sponsored by the National Safe Kids Campaign and General Motors, has checked nearly 550,000 child safety seats for proper installation and distributed more than 250,000 seats free to families who need them. To learn more about a check up event in your area, visit or call 1-800-441-1888.

DO help prevent children from activating power windows by using the vehicle's power window lockout function and by ensuring kids are properly restrained and supervised when in a vehicle. Make sure children do not put their heads and hands outside the window for any reason, even when window lockouts are engaged.

Parking Lots and Driveways

DO always lock your vehicle-even in the driveway or garage-and keep the keys away from children.

DON'T leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle, not even for a second. On an even moderate spring or fall day, the temperature inside the vehicle could reach lethal levels. For free brochures on this subject, go to or DO call authorities if you observe that a young child has been left alone in a vehicle.

DO conduct a thorough "walk-around" of a vehicle before getting inside and starting the engine. If children are playing outside as you are preparing to move a vehicle, make sure they are standing a safe distance away-where you can see them-before backing up.

DO check interior surfaces such as metal safety belt buckles before restraining children in a vehicle on a warm day. Surfaces can warm up quickly and may burn tender skin.

DON'T store potentially hazardous substances such as filled gas cans, open containers of oil or grill propane tanks in a vehicle.

To learn more about keeping young people safe in and around motor vehicles, visit

IT'S A SNAP-By using booster seats and seat belts correctly, you can help keep your kids safer in your car.

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