Rules for the
There are many aspects to
vehicle safety. Whether your grandchildren are infants or teens, there are
several things grandparents should always be aware of. From car seats to driving
lessons, here are some tips for traveling safely.
Confused About Car Seats?
There are three basic types of
car seats, each designed to fit children of various ages and weights: infant
seats, convertible seats, and booster seats.
- Infant seats are suitable for a child from
birth up to about 20 pounds or one year of age. Infant seats always face the
rear of the car.
- Convertible seats do "double duty",
both as infant seats in the rear-facing position, and later turned forward and
upright for toddlers. They are for a child from birth up to about 40
- Booster seats are suitable for toddlers
weighing more than 40 pounds, until the child reaches age 8 or a height of
With the wide variety of
child restraint systems, belt systems
and passenger vehicles, correctly installing a child restraint system can be
challenging. Making the right connections will help improve overall protection
for your grandchild. Always read child restraint and vehicle manufacturers'
instructions for proper use and installation information. Check the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration website for locations of car seat safety inspection stations to be sure
the seat is installed properly, product information, and recalls. Remember,
correct use is easy if you follow 4 simple steps:
- Completely read the manufacturer's instructions for your
- Face the seat in the
- Secure the safety
seat with a safety belt.
- Secure your
child snugly in the safety seat.
* Don't put children under age 12 in the front seat. The safest place
is always in the back seat.
Teens Behind the
Getting a driver's license
means more independence for teenage grandchildren, and even bigger concerns for
grandparents. Teenagers have the highest crash risk of any age group. Compared with accidents
of older drivers, those of 16 year-olds more often involve driver error. Factors
contributing to accidents and serious injuries include, but are not limited to:
distractions (such as additional teenage passengers; cell phone use or changing
a CD); night driving; alcohol; and low seat belt use.
Not all states require a learner's permit before
obtaining a driver's license (and some permits are held for only a minimum
length of time), so the time you spend behind the wheel with your teen is
important - make it count! Whether your state has a
procedure or not, grandparents can impose their own graduated system
where driving privileges are phased in. When you understand the risk factors
involved in letting your teenage grandchild behind the wheel, you can act to
improve the situation for your own teen.
- Don't rely solely on high
school driver education classes. Consider additional classes and training
outside the school.
- Restrict night driving
until the teen has had more experience behind the wheel and has proven he/she
has obtained the skills for driving at night.
- Supervise practice driving
- including night driving.
- Restrict passengers. Teen
passengers in a vehicle can distract a beginning driver and/or lead to greater
- Require seat belt