According to Toyota Motors, more than 43 million Americans traveled for Thanksgiving last year and 90 percent of them did so by car.
Thanksgiving has traditionally been the most traveled holiday weekend next to Christmas. That’s why, as we approach the busiest travel season of the year, travel safety information is more important than ever – especially for children.
The folks at Toyota ask, “Did you know that children’s winter coats should be removed before placing them in a car seat?” Or, what about the startling fact that three out of four car seats are incorrectly installed?
As such, “Buckle Up for Life,” the national child passenger safety program from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Toyota, released the following top safety tips to help keep children safe during the holidays.
* Tip 1: Use the Inch and Pinch Test. Before your family heads out on the road for the holidays – even if you are traveling a short distance – double check that your car seat is installed properly. You can access easy ways to check this, including the Inch and Pinch Test at www.BuckleUpforLife.org.
* Tip 2: Remove Your Child’s Winter Coat. Before securing your child in their seat, remove their winter coat. A coat can prevent the harness from fitting correctly. It also could compress in a crash, compromising the seat’s ability to protect your child.
* Tip 3: Traveling By Plane? Check Your Seat for FAA Approval. If you child plans to sit in their car seat on a plane, make sure the seat is approved by the FAA. An approved car seat will fit in the airplane seat properly and its harness will hold your child securely in the event of turbulence. Information about your car seat’s FAA approval, can be found on the side of the car seat.
* Tip 4: If you are renting a car to get to grandmothers house, use your own car seat. When you rent a seat you don’t know important facts about its history that could affect its ability to protect your child (e.g. expiration date, crash history, etc.) The good news is that most airlines allow you to check your car seat for free.
* Tip 5: Secure Holiday “Extras” in the Car. Make sure that all gifts, luggage and other objects are tightly secured in your vehicle. These objects could become projectiles in the event of a crash. Also, if you are traveling with your pets, make sure they are properly restrained as well.
These tips may seem simple, but they are critical for families to keep in mind – whether you’re traveling far this holiday season or staying local with friends and family, said Gloria DelCastillo, child passenger safety expert at Cinicinnati Children’s and national program manager for Buckle Up for Life. “Our goal is for every child to be safe this holiday season and year round.
Said Latondra Newton, chief social innovation officer for Toyota of North America, “We know that for many families the holidays are special and especially hectic. But no matter how busy or frazzled we may be this holiday season, we must all take time to help ensure that our children are safe. That’s why these tips from Buckle Up for Life are so important.