What You Need To Know:
- In 2013, motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of death for children age 4 and the second leading cause of death for children ages 5-14.
- Every day in the United States, 3 children are killed and an estimated 470 children are injured in traffic collisions.
- In 2013, the state of Texas had the highest number of traffic-related child deaths (128), followed by California (99), Florida (69), Georgia (53), North Carolina (50), Arizona (48), and Alabama (46).
A crucial component to being an empowered parent is to be informed. Knowledge can prevent problems from occurring and resolve issues before they become unmanageable or deadly. Although most parents have a general understanding of child safety laws, there are some laws that are less well known.
When it comes to child car safety, there’s more to it than just car seats and seat belts. There are national laws and state guidelines that dictate what you can and can’t do when it comes to transporting children. Although these laws may vary state to state, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration highlights some fairly common laws across the country that you may not know exist.
Becoming Your Own Expert:
Some laws that aren’t common knowledge include:
- Passengers are not allowed to ride in the trunk of a vehicle regardless of age
- It is illegal to leave a child under the age of 7 in a car alone; they must be under the supervision of a person 14 years or older (these ages vary state to state)
- Children under the age of 18 are not allowed to ride in the bed of a truck
- Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cell phones while driving (this includes texting and hands-free capabilities; use of cell phone is also illegal for adults and minors in some states)
- Teens are limited to certain times that they can drive at night, depending on the age of your teen and the state where they live
Knowing these laws can help you to protect your kids but they can also protect you from fines or criminal punishment. Staying informed can help to ease the stress and fear that comes with the territory of being a parent. Being the fun parent who gives into the insane request that kids often make can be a costly and risky parenting choice.
Playing It Safe With Kids and Cars is a great guide that educates parents on:
- How to find and properly install child safety seats
- How to prevent injuries from power windows and entanglements in seat belts
- Determine the safety rating for their car based on vehicle’s make and model
- Preventing danger in and around vehicles