We have friends who take two weeks off every year to explore the Hudson Valley. They drive (an environmentally friendly hybrid vehicle) the back roads and visit the big estates and the roadside farm stands. This year, they took their young niece and nephew with them, and their experience -- for the most part positive -- reminded us of a few safety rules of the road.
When you are traveling by car, adults should have their seatbelts on, and children should be in the appropriate safety seat. Drivers should always look before they lock: If you are in a hurry or tend to be distracted, try leaving your wallet in the back seat, next to a child in a car seat. Always take children with you when you leave the car, even if it's just for a minute. Never leave children in a running car.
Make sure the way is clear before backing out of a driveway or parking spot. Check not only to see that your own children are with you but that other children or pets have not wandered too close to the vehicle. Some adults walk completely around their vehicles before taking off.
Make sure the windows are locked. Even if your children know enough not to play with them, we know a dog who is very skilled at opening the back window.
And speaking of pets, follow the same rules for them that you follow for your children. They should not be roaming the car -- it's an accident waiting to happen if the dog jumps in the front seat to be with mom and dad -- and they should not be sticking their heads out of the car window. Finally, they should not be left alone in a car, most especially during warmer than average and colder than average weather.
End the summer on a good note and set the precedent for the school year by following safety rules wherever you go and no matter how much your children -- or any borrowed children -- object.
Source: The Star, "4 simple rules for your kid's safety around escalators, playgrounds and cars - Features," Lee Mei Li, Aug. 15, 2014