According to WHO, the number of children who get injured or end up disabled in road accidents is around 10 million every year. Sadly, a lot of them can also end up with fatal injuries, and 21% of all car crash deaths actually happen to kids between 0-19 years of age. For parents, this can be a truly frightening statistic to hear, and that’s why it’s so important to always consider your little ones when it comes to driving. If you want to make sure your car is safe and your children protected, here are some things that you have to keep in mind.

Baby seats are necessary

There’s simply no traveling without them, and babies up to at least six months of age must travel in rearward-facing seats that are secured to the back car seats. Toddlers can travel in forward-facing seats as well, but they need to be strapped to the back seat securely. The seat you pick should be influenced by your child’s weight and size, and you should keep putting them in it as long as possible. Once they grow out of it, you should still keep them seated in the back until they’re 12 years of age. Of course, regardless of whether they’re a kid sitting in the back, or a teenager sitting in the front, they should always, without fail, have a seatbelt on.

Never leave them alone in a car

Kids should never ever be left unsupervised in a vehicle, especially when they’re very small. Heat strokes can easily happen with children because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s does, and if they can’t cool down fast enough they could die. Small children are also prone to crawling around and exploring, and they could try to get inside the trunk or underneath the seats and get stuck there. Even if your baby is securely strapped to their seat, accidents happen very easily, so do be careful. Children get bored, they want to look for you, and they will attempt to get free so they can find you.

Check your insurance

Not every car insurance is the same, and you need to be well informed if you want to be covered in case of an accident. You can take a look at a comprehensive car insurance to figure out what you need. Sometimes things like baby seat replacement can be covered, and if you’re smart you’ll invest in good insurance and feel much better. A kid-friendly car is always fully functional and you should never drive them in something that clearly needs to be taken to the mechanic.

Teach them the importance of a seat belt

Car safety is also about instilling good habits from an early age. Make sure your child starts strapping their seatbelt on their own as soon as they’re able, and absolutely refuse to start driving until they do. Let them know that you can’t go anywhere until everyone is secured, and praise them whenever they remember to strap in. Of course, you should also lead by example. Never drive your car without a seatbelt on, and don’t let other family members or friends ride with you without doing the same.

As we’ve mentioned before, kids get bored pretty easily, and they can start crying, or swinging their feet, or moving around too much during the ride. To keep them entertained, talk to them, and if it crosses their mind to unbuckle the seatbelt, try to drive your car to a safe spot and explain that they can’t do that. You can also learn a few safety songs together and then sing them to make it easier for them to learn.

Children with special needs

Children with disabilities will need special care, and it’s advisable that you talk to their occupational therapist and ask them to suggest safety tips, and ask them whether you’ll need to modify the baby seats to suit their needs. They can also help you identify what kind of vehicle you can choose to make sure your whole family can ride in it safely.

Take car safety seriously because your children will learn from your example. As long as you stay careful and help them learn good habits, they’ll stay safe on the road.