Lets start with the most obvious first. The most consistently important rule to driving in any situation is always going to be to put on your seat belt. Adults understand this but young children often don't. Child care must involve reinforcing this basic message. Its so important to tell your kids from the earliest age. The wise will keep reinforcing the message day after day. Obvious? Yes, but its also the most vital. Its so important in fact that I’m going to rephrase it. As a parent this really could be your most important Child Care responsibility ever, and one that you can not afford to neglect. Of all the children who die each year due to car accidents around the world, around half of these young lives could have been saved by wearing a seat belt. Always periodically check that your child has not undone their belt or that an older brother or sister has not undone it for them.
Also; Do not put two kids in the same seatbelt. Do not put and adult and child together in the same seatbelt. Do not carry a child on your lap. Any of these actions could result in serious injury or death in the event of an accident. Child Care does not mean doing what is convenient.
Another big killer of children is driver fatigue. Perhaps you have had a weekend of fun in the snow and are about to return to your home in the city? Or perhaps its summer on a very hot day and you have been driving for hours to your favorite camping spot? What ever the reason, don't take unnecessary risks. As the driver of a vehicle Child Care extends to your own well being. Take frequent rest stops to freshen up or switch drivers and if its hot by all means make sure your family drinks plenty of fluids.
By the way, if you are on a weekend camping trip its likely that you have your car piled up with all sorts of gear. Its important in this case that you are able to clearly see out the back window. This type of situation can also be particularly dangerous if you don't have a cargo barrier. If an accident occurs many flying objects can become lethal missiles, putting your child in real danger. Even light objects can cause terrible injuries. If you want go camping and your car does not have a cargo barrier it may be best to hire a car that does. In general it’s also wise to always remove unsecured items from the rear of your vehicle.
Parents on camping trips are generally inclined to keep their kids occupied while in the car. They talk to them, sing songs and play eye-spy games. But how about in general day to day situations as we drive about with the kids? Habitual Child Care, especially that related to vehicle use, creates useful momentum, so during these times be mindful of keeping the kids occupied. Kids can other wise be very distracting if left to their own devices. Arguments or boisterous playing around can make driver concentration very difficult at the best of times. Having family games like “Spotto” (I see a yellow car) and similar games help direct kids attention when they are together. Car time can also be a great opportunity for family discussion that may other wise not take place. Why not make a note of some thing nice to focus on each time you go out?
We have all heard of the unfortunate deaths of young children who have been left in vehicles on a hot day. It doesn't take long for a vehicle to heat up, even if the window is half down. Where ever possible bring your kids with you when the weather is hot and never leave young children alone in a vehicle as many accidents have occurred where young children have set a vehicle in motion.
The time for autonomous vehicles is almost upon us. When that occurs putting the kids in the car will take on a new, and ideally safer scenario. Until then however we must always be vigilant in our on road care, for our children’s sake.