Driving with Children? Here’s What You Need to Know

small african american child sitting in car seat

Driving with children can be fun, but for some, it can also be very taxing. While all cars are equipped with safety belts, young ones need extra protection when riding in a car. 

You may be wondering, how can I keep my child safe in the car? In this post, we’ll give some invaluable safety tips about driving with children.

First, let’s look at the different types of child seats and what ages they are designed for:

  • Rear-facing child restraint: A rear-facing seat is suitable for infants and toddlers (until they reach age two or older). You should check the manual that comes with the seat to understand the weight and height limits. You should never place the restraint in the front seat as the force of an inflating airbag can be deadly.
  • Forward-facing car seat: If your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, you can use a forward-facing car seat. It should be fitted at the back, and most children over five years of age need a forward-facing seat.
  • Booster seat: So, when can a child stop using a booster seat? When your child is big enough, they can move on to a booster seat. Children below 12 years should be buckled in the seat to ensure their safety. However, you should only use the booster if the shoulder belt lays across the chest.

When Can Kids Sit in the Front Seat?

According to the National Safety Administration, children should wait until they reach age 13 before sitting in the front seat. Generally speaking, airbags are designed for a 140-pound person. If your child is lighter or smaller, airbags can cause serious injury when they hit the head, face, and chest. 

Tips for Car Safety Rules for Kids While You’re Driving

happy african american mother strapping traveling with children in car seat

Take frequent breaks

While you can comfortably sit in the car for hours, you should take a few breaks along the way if a child is on board. Don’t stop at the side of the road or on hard shoulders. The last thing you want is your child getting close to incoming traffic. You also want to give them enough time for snacks and toilet breaks.

Drive with another adult in the car if you can

One way to avoid distractions while driving is to ensure another adult is on board to take care of the child.

Lay some ground rules

For older children, you should set a few rules to follow. Caution them not to shout or throw things outside. If there are two kids at the back, you should make sure they don’t start any fights, which can distract you.

Driving with infants

Driving with infants and babies presents a lot of challenges for parents. Keep them occupied with age-appropriate toys. At times, you may have to pull over and calm your baby to maintain focus.

Protect Yourself and Others While You’re Driving with Children

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