September is nationally known as Child Safety Month, with a push to educate parents about home, food, school and travel safety for children.
With Sept. 18-24 as Child Passenger Safety Week and National Seat Check Saturday on Sept. 24, Los Angeles’ annual Red CARpet Safety Event hosted by television actress/personality Ali Landry provides a fun family atmosphere to educate, inspire and give families the most cutting-edge information and up-close looks at the latest baby and toddler safety gear at Sony Pictures Commissary. Tickets can be purchased here.
Here are some go-to resources and tips for keeping kids safe in and around cars.
For babies and toddlers, proper car-seat installation is a must. SafeKids.org identifies that three of four car seats in the United States are not installed correctly. Using a LATCH & tether system or seat belt (never both at once) is imperative for the utmost safety should the car be involved in a crash. According to California law, kids under 2 years old are recommended to be in rear-facing seats with a five-point harness clipped right on top of the child’s breastbone.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has also identified that most children will not properly fit into vehicle seat belts without a booster seat until ages 10 or 11 (you must be 4-foot-9 to be fully protected by an adult-size seat belt) and recommends a backless booster seat until the child is tall enough.
For pedestrian safety, SafeKids reminds parents that children under 10 years old are typically not developmentally able to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars. Parents should remind kids to look left, right then left again before crossing the street, to put away all devices while walking (phones, tablets, headphones), to stay on sidewalks and paths and to cross streets only at corners. More tips from SafeKids.org here.
For new teen drivers, parents should know that AAA found that 60 percent of car crashes involving teens are caused by distracted driving. The No. 1 distraction? Other passengers in the car! Aim to keep passengers to one (maximum) when your teen is driving and set rules in writing. AAA has a teen driving agreement to help parents along.
As for the second most-common distraction for teen driving (texting/phones), you might want to consider installing an app to disable your teen’s phone while they drive. Focus for iPhone is an automatic app that gets progressively angry if the driver continues to use the phone while behind the wheel and sends email reports for accountability; Drive First (free for Sprint customers) automatically silences and locks the phone and responds to incoming texts/calls with a message that says the owner is driving and can’t pick up the phone.
Still wary of your teen driving? You can track their location and speed through Brick House Security’s tracking devices that you install on the car. (This tip compliments of Facebook group Los Angeles Parents of Pre-Teens and Teens.)
Jill Simonian is a Parenting Lifestyle Contributor, appearing on CBS Los Angeles every Wednesday on News at 5pm and Friday mornings at 6:45am. Her personal blog is TheFabMom.com. Follow Jill on Twitter @jillsimonian and connect with her on Facebook.