5 unsafe car habits to break now

As a parent, you do everything you can to keep your kids safe–no matter where they are. So why not start with the car? Here are five unsafe car habits all parents should know about.

1. Improper car seat installation

Did you know that up to 80 percent aren’t installed or used correctly? Before installation, sit down with both your car seat and vehicle manuals. Still unsure? Ask your local fire or police department for information about car seat clinics near you.

2. Using a car seat that has expired or been in a car accident

While hand-me-down seats are convenient, it’s important to check the manufacturer’s date on the seat before installing. And never use a car seat that’s been in an accident­–even a minor fender-bender.

3. Driving with all-weather tires in the winter

Winter tires increase traction by 50 percent. Ensure your family’s safety by opting for tires that have a symbol on them shaped like a mountain with a snowflake in it. This is known as the Alpine symbol and means that the tires were made for snowy, slippery roads and low temperatures.

4. Letting yourself get distracted by your kids

You can’t ban your kids from the car, but you can be conscious of the need to drive defensively. Build in reaction time by leaving plenty of space between you and the car ahead of you, slow down, or safely pull over if your kids need attention.

Penalties for distracted driving include fines and demerit points, along with increased insurance rates.

5. Leaving loose objects unsecured

Loose objects–such as water bottles, groceries and yes, even the iPad in your kid’s hands–can instantly become lethal projectiles in the event of an accident, or even heavy braking. Always make sure to secure all objects or put them in the trunk if possible.

Read more:
Car seat cheat sheet
11 car seat dos and don’ts

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