Safety Tips for Traveling by Car With Children


Photo courtesy of Maria Sbytova/

Put safety first when traveling by car with children.

  • Always use a car seat for infants and young children; they should ride in a rear-facing car seat until 2 years of age or until they reach the height or highest weight allowed by the car seat manufacturer. After reaching the rear-facing height or weight limit, children should ride in a forward-facing car seat.
  • Most rental car companies can arrange for a car seat if you are unable to bring yours, but they may have a limited selection. Before accepting it, make sure the seat is in good condition and is appropriate for the size and age of your child.
  • A child who has outgrown her car seat with a harness should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belt fits.
  • All children under 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles.
  • Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has an air bag.
  • Plan to stop and give yourself and your child a break about every two hours.
  • Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Temperatures inside the car can reach deadly levels quickly.
  • Stock up on bottled water and snacks, hand wipes, diaper rash ointment and basic first-aid items.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics,

Katherine Kopp is a freelance writer in Chapel Hill.

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