In Quebec, hundreds of children die or get injured in cars every year. Many of these tragedies, however, can be avoided if drivers follow the recommended safety practices. At Auto Value Certified Service Centers, we want to do our part to help make the roads a safer place for children. Here are six critical safety considerations to keep in mind if you are transporting a child in a car:
1. Use a child car seat. Babies and children must be placed in a child car seat that’s appropriate for their age, weight and height. According to the Highway Safety Code, only children measuring at least 145 centimetres or who are nine years old can sit directly on the seat. However, it’s generally recommended to privilege weight over height when deciding how to seat a child.
2. Install the seat properly. According to the most recent statistics in Quebec, nearly half of all child car seats are incorrectly installed or used, regardless of whether they’re appropriate to the child’s height and weight. To avoid making a mistake, have your car seat examined by a member of the Child Car Seat Verification Network.
3. Keep kids in the back. According to the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) and Transport Canada, children under the age of 12 should always ride in the back seat. The rear of the vehicle is the furthest away from impact areas in the event of a frontal collision. If there’s no room left in the back seat and you have a child in the passenger seat, make sure to deactivate the air bag.
4. Prevent heatstroke. Never leave a child alone in a car in the summer, even for a few minutes with a window open. The temperature in a car cabin can rise quickly and cause a potentially fatal heat stroke.
5. Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. In winter, never leave a child alone in the car while the engine is idling. If snow blocks the exhaust pipe, carbon monoxide could fill the interior of the vehicle and result in death.
6. Prevent choking. It is strongly discouraged to give food to your young passenger while driving. If they choke, you may not have enough time to react. If they want a snack, pull over to a safe area — and let everyone stretch their legs at the same time!
For expertise you can count on, schedule an appointment at your nearest Auto Value Certified Service Centers.