Road Trip Safety Rules

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Are there specific things I can do to make road travel with my infant safer?

Road Trip Safety Rules

It's a done deal. You've made the decision to make the six-hour drive across two state lines to get to Grandma's house for the holidays. Getting there with calm nerves is one thing, but getting there safely is another. We've put together some road trip safety rules for traveling with baby.

Rule #1 – Always put your infant in a child safety seat in the backseat. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it's the safest place.

Rule #2 – Keep your infant in a rear facing infant car seat or convertible until s/he is at least 20 pounds and one year old. After one year, or after your baby hits the 20 pound marker, you can use a forward facing convertible car seat.

Rules #3 – If you have a two-seater car – take heed: the force of an airbag can cause serious injuries or kill children and infants. If you do have the option to turn your airbag off in the passenger seat where your infant will be, do so. It's the safest alternative to suffering the extreme force of an airbag, should it deploy.

Rule #4 – Never, ever take your child out of her car seat while driving. Infants and young children may cry and scream while you're driving in the car seat. Do not remove your child from the one piece of protection that could save his/her life should you get into a car crash. If she's tired, likely she'll fall asleep in the next several minutes. If she's hungry, pull the car over and feed her. At the risk or repeating ourselves, whatever the problem, you can always stop the car at a safe location and attend to your little one.

Rule #5 – Before you hit the road, remember to check that the car seat is attached properly to the car and that your child is harnessed in securely. Remember these rules of thumb:

  • A secure car seat should not move more than one inch in either direction.
  • If your car seat has a tether and your car seat can accommodate it, use it. It'll restrict the forward motion of the car seat in the event of a crash.
  • Make sure your infant is buckled securely. The harness should be snug, but not binding.
Helpful Hint : If you have any questions about the installation of your car seat, you can check with an organization like the NHTSA. Their Website at has a list of places you can bring your car to check for proper installation.



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