Keeping kids in the back seat of your car might seem like something you do just to help promote your own sanity as you drive, and in fact there is some truth to this as well as an undeniable connection between lack of distraction and safety behind the wheel. But the larger issue of keeping kids in the back seat has more to do with what might happen to them if a car accident does happen. It is important to know and understand the logic behind this so that you are not tempted to toss your daughter in the front seat next to you even for a short drive into town.
Kids and Car Airbags
There are some wonderful things that airbags do for auto safety. They have saved countless lives through the years, and as they become more common and more advanced, they also get better at protecting us which is a very remarkable thing. But airbags pose a danger to young kids, and those of us who have airbag equipped vehicles especially need to recognize that danger.
Young kids under the age of 12 should always be in the back seat because front airbags have the potential to hurt them badly or even worse in the event of an accident. There are next generation airbags whose force of deployment is adjusted according to the weight of the passenger, and some that will not deploy at all if the passenger is under a certain weight threshold, but this still does not create the same level of safety for kids as just being in the back. These are considerations that should be taken by first time car buyers.
Car Seats and Booster Seats
Being in the back seat is also important because of the need for car seats and booster seats for smaller passengers. Regular shoulder and lap belts are not designed to work well for smaller passengers. In certain types of collision impacts, the shoulder belt can actually do more harm than good. That is why it is so important to keep kids in the back and get them seated in the proper car seats or booster seats.
Rear facing car seats are usually needed until the child reaches the age of one year old and weighs 20 pounds. After that the seat can face forward and the child needs to stay in that seat until age 4. There are some specific height requirements for booster seats as well, again related to those lap and shoulder belts. The way the belt covers the child is important and safety is the primary concern. Once the kids are big enough for booster seats, they need to keep using them until they reach a certain threshold height, often four foot nine inches.
Child Safety in the Car
There are many reasons why it is important to think about these things, but really they all come back to the issue of child safety in the vehicle. Keeping your kids safe when you drive is essential, and of course their safety in general is a prime concern for all parents. Everything we can do to help in that area is important to go ahead and do.
This means keeping the kids in the back seat until they are 12 years old, and doing everything in your power to plan for the unexpected so you can deal with it when it arises. This includes getting reliable car insurance that can take care of your family. Use our free quote form and look for quality car insurance in your home area so you can save money while you protect your whole family.