Britain has one of the best road safety records in the world, but children’s lives are still lost each day. In 2014, 53 children died in road accidents and 2,029 were seriously injured.
While we may think road risk for children involving them running out between parked cars or tripping into the road, there are also risks when they are car passengers. Around 12 children in the UK are killed or injured as car passengers each day.
Improving safety inside the car
All children under 12 years of age must wear a suitable restraint when travelling in a car, by law. However tempting it might be to try to subdue a screaming baby, in the event of an accident trying to hold on to it would need force equivalent to lifting eight bags of cement at once; the child would likely fly out of your arms.
The safest place for children is in the back seat of the car. Babies weighing up to 13kg should sit in rear-facing car seats. If you decide to place this in the front seat of your car, ensure the airbag is turned off or it may injure the baby in the event of a crash.
Toddlers and children should also use a seat appropriate for their age, weight and height. Your child will be too tall for a seat when their eye-line is above the back of the seat. Until your child is big enough that the adult belt rests on their hips, chest and shoulder, which can best withstand the force of an accident, they should use a child seat, preferably with a high back to offer head and neck protection.
It is worth remembering that most car accidents happen close to home on short journeys. When you have just wrestled your children into their coats and rushed them into the car, you may be feeling a little stressed. Take a few moments to check you are calm before driving off.
Road safety outside the car
It’s never too early to start training children about road safety. Babies and toddlers can learn about traffic by spotting different vehicle types and telling you the colours. As they get older, children can learn by helping you decide the best place to cross.
When you are out with children, always hold their hand or use reins to prevent them from running ahead. You should always be next to the road, with the child on the inside of the kerb. Watch out for hidden entrances and driveways, too.
Children are ready to learn how to cross for themselves from around the age of eight. They should be taught the Green Cross Code so they can stop, look, and listen before stepping into the road.
Your behaviour on the roads will also be a very important influence on your child. By setting a good example, you can help prevent your child taking unnecessary risks themselves.
Computerquote offers a range of motor insurance policies to help protect you and your family, including those featuring breakdown cover and legal expenses to claim for personal injury compensation for you and your passengers involved in an accident.