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How To Toddler Proof Your Car

Alison Wood | 9, November 2012


As dads and moms busily weave in and out of traffic, little ones can become listless and bored. The mundane riding can trigger a toddler's desire to explore his surroundings while his parent or caregiver is attentive to the task at hand -- driving. Seemingly safe outings can become disastrous if a safety prevention plan is not in use. Listed below are some great ideas for toddler-proofing your vehicle.

Choose a car seat seat that is the perfect match for your child's height and weight.
Car seats and booster seats have weight and height guidelines. Following these guidelines will aid in finding the seat that correctly fits your child. Also check for extra safety features that are included in the seat.

Properly position the car seat in the back seat.
Do not place a small child near an airbag or in the front seat of a vehicle. Also, placing the car seat in the middle back seat will keep doors and locks out of tiny hands' reach.

Check and double check that your child is fastened snugly into the car seat.
Review the safety manual that accompanied the car seat to ensure that the seat belt and seat are placed correctly. Many times parents and caregivers carefully restrain toddlers in car seats but fail to inspect to see if the car seat is snapped securely and correctly to the seat of the car. Many baby stores and workshops offer demonstrations on how to properly install car seats. Car seat safety is the number one concern of car travel for little tykes.

Activate child-proof locks.
Some cars come equipped with this safety feature. If you are unsure how to enable the automatic child-proof locks, then check your car's manual for instructions. If your car does not come with this feature, try contacting the manufacturer to see if it is possible to have them installed. These locks can prevent children from opening doors while the car is in motion.

Lock back seats.
If your back seat folds down, this could be a safety hazard since a child can easily crawl into the trunk. Ensure it is tightly locked and secure.

Prepare activities.
Keeping kids busy prevents little ones from becoming escape artists and endangering themselves. Ready DVDs, fun music, soft toys for play and other activities to keep outings fun and safe.

Never leave a toddler unattended.
Small children need supervision, and even more so in a vehicle. Take the extra time and effort to bring your little one in with you when you pay for gas or need to just grab one item from the store. Your child's safety is worth the inconvenience. If you are in a hurry, opt for paying at the pump or grabbing a soft drink from a restaurant drive-thru instead of walking in a grocery store.

Keep dangerous chemicals out of reach.
For convenience, many people store windshield wiper cleaner, armor oil and other car cleaners in the back seats. Ensure these poisonous items are safely locked away or just remove them altogether. Also, make sure air fresheners are out of reach.

Remove any choking hazards.
Small items or toys can be quickly grabbed by toddlers. Consistently check for any loose items that are small enough to cause a child to choke.

Look for cars with safety trunk releases.
Children can become locked in trunks of cars when playing hide-and-seek and other games. If you are in the process of scouting for a new car, consider vehicles with this safety mechanism. Many of these mechanisms automatically pop the trunk open if heat and motion is sensed inside the trunk of the vehicle.

Create a safety check-list and post it in your vehicle.
Print out this list of toddler-proofing ideas or come up with your own. Place it in a visible place in your car to serve as a constant reminder of safety measures that should be remembered when traveling with a pint-sized passenger.

Caring and concerned caregivers go to extreme measures to child-proof their homes in order to provide the safest environment available for small children. The interior of motor vehicles should be no exception. Create safe and secure outings by utilizing these toddler-proofing tips.

Related Articles

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Baby Crib Safety Standards

Baby Proofing Your Home

Baby Wearing Safety Guidelines From the CPSC

Baby Proofing Checklist


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