A parent must master the art of keeping a child safe in the car. There are basic vehicle safety techniques to follow, along with knowing to be mindful of the unexpected, since children are curious and can unknowingly put themselves in unsafe situations. Following these safety guidelines will keep your children safe and give you peace of mind.
Observing posted speed limits is important, but of equal importance is driving to the present conditions. When weather is less than ideal, when the road is wet, when traffic is heavy, when road construction is ahead, etc., adjust your speed accordingly.
Keep a child in the safety seat that meets their specific age, height, and weight restrictions. New Mexico law requires all children up to their 7th birthday, regardless of weight, and all children less than 60 pounds, regardless of age, ride in a child safety seat. Texas law requires all children up to their 8th birthday, unless taller than 49, ride in a child safety seat.
Leaving a child in the car can be lethal because the child can suffer heatstroke. Always check the back seats of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away.
In New Mexico, there arent specific laws that address leaving children unattended in a vehicle; however, you should still never risk a childs safety by doing this.
In Texas, it is illegal to leave a child under 7 years old unattended in a vehicle for more than 5 minutes.
Children can hurt themselves by unintentionally triggering a power window. They can close the window on their finger, wrist, or hand, or in the worst case scenario, strangle themselves. If available, activate the power window lock switch so children cannot adjust the windows. If not available, keep children properly restrained and teach them to not play with switches.
Distracted driving, such as interacting with a phone, is dangerous and can lead to accidents. In New Mexico, it is illegal to read or view a text message or manually type on a handheld wireless communication device while driving.
In Texas, there is no law banning the use of cell phones while driving for all drivers, but several local areas prohibit or limit use.
Prevent your child from opening the car door while the car is moving by enabling the childproof door locks. If your car does not have automatic childproof locks, place your child in the middle of the back seat where they cannot reach the door locks.
Pick a vehicle that has a top crash test rating. Vehicle size and weight matter, along with crash avoidance features. Smaller, lighter vehicles generally offer less protection than larger, heavier ones.
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