Summer Car Safety

Summer, we love it right? Lazy days in the sun, fun at the beach, ice cream and adventures. Summer also comes with long, hot days and blazing sun, which can make the car an uncomfortable or even dangerous place for young children.

We've put together some top tips to keep your kids safe this summer.

  1. Get your car seat checked. According to Auckland Transport, 80% of car seats checked are not installed correctly. Simply put, they won't be able to perform their job of protecting your child if incorrectly installed. You can find a list of qualified car seat technicians at the NZTA website or send us a message, we offer in person and virtual installations and support.

  2. Keep old towels in the car and drape them over your car seat in between uses. This will prevent the metal and plastic parts of the car seat from getting too hot.

3. Apply sunscreen before heading out. Children can be exposed to ultraviolet rays even in the car with the windows up.

4. Cool the car down quickly. Open all the windows, doors and even the boot to get air circulating and start the engine (only if parked outdoors) to get the air conditioning cranking.

5. Use sunshades. From personal experience the best sunshades are those that wrap around the top of the car door and clip at the bottom of the door. More mobile toddlers and children are less likely to pull these away and they tend to cover a greater area.

6. Keep babies well hydrated during long trips but not while buckled in. I will explain the details more in another blog post but simply put breastfeeding, bottle feeding and drinking out of a drink bottle can be unsafe for these reasons.

Firstly the bottle or drink bottle will become a projectile in the event of a crash and could injure the child if struck by these objects. You can buy soft silicone drink bottles which is what I would recommend for older children. The next best alternative is a reusable plastic drink bottle, don't forget to check that it has a leak proof spout!

7. Don't leave babies and kids in the car. Even a quick trip into the store can come with delays and cars get very hot, very fast. Watch this video that shows just how quickly cars can heat up.

8. Be careful with your keys! My niece managed to lock herself in the car when she was a toddler, she had grabbed the keys and pressed the lock button. It was a hot, hot day and she quickly became distressed. We ended up breaking the window to get inside because Roadside Assistance was taking too long. This was one of the most stressful situations I've been in, keep those keys away from little hands!

9. Check those car seat straps. Kids often wear less on hot days so their harness may be a little loose. Do the pinch test to check that their harness is secure enough.

10. Use a removable front sunshade to keep the overall temperature lower in the car while leaving it parked. They are a really inexpensive way to keep your car cooler in summer.

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