Dayton Children's offers tips for traveling safely during the holidays
11-14-2009 (Dayton, OH) -
With the busy holiday season right around the corner it is important to plan not only for the holiday celebrations, but the journeys ahead. Dayton Children's reminds parents to keep kids safe and buckled up in their appropriate car or booster seat.
In the air or on the ground, a car seat is an essential safety device. If families are flying to their holiday destination it is important to know that booster seats are not allowed on airplanes because they require shoulder belts and airplane seats have only lap belts. However, car seats fit for infants or toddlers are allowed on aircrafts.
Not all car seats can fit on standard airplane seats, which are typically about 16 inches wide, but Dayton Children's, Safe Kids Greater Dayton, and the Federal Aviation Administration strongly recommend using a car seat in an aircraft whenever possible.
"Air turbulence can be dangerous and can appear suddenly without warning," said Jessica Saunders, community relations manager at Dayton Children's and Safe Kids Greater Dayton coordinator. "Infants and toddlers on airplanes are safest in a car seat with a harness. A child who rides in a car seat on the ground should ride in that car seat on a plane."
Parents should make sure that their child's car seat is labeled "certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft."
"You need your child's car seat to travel to and from the airport anyway," said Saunders. "Car rental companies might not have reliable car seats available and checking your child's seat as baggage could result in damage. Your kids are better off in their own car seats."
Children who have outgrown car seats should sit directly on the airplane seat and, like all passengers, keep the lap belt buckled across their thighs or hips.
Space for safe traveling on airplanes - Reserve your seatThe FAA advises travelers with small children to reserve a pair of seats by a window. Car seats are not allowed in aisle seats or exit rows, where they could block emergency escape routes; they must be installed at a window seat.
Make sure everyone buckles upInappropriately restrained children are nearly three and a half times more likely to be seriously injured in a crash than their appropriately restrained counterparts. Children should always wear a safety belt, in a car or in the air.
Adult travelers should buckle up, too. "You're a role model," says Saunders. "Children learn safety behavior by watching parents and caregivers. Also, children who ride in car seats on the ground appear to be more comfortable and better behaved when using one on a plane."
Dayton Children's also wants to remind parents and caregivers that practicing responsible and safe driving habits can ensure the safety of everyone in the car.
Dayton Children's and Safe Kids Greater Dayton offer these 10 tips for safe driving:
- Obey the speed limit.
- Don't rush! Plan ahead and allow for extra traveling and preparation time.
- Drive with caution during the rainy and snowy season.
- Do not drive if you have consumed any alcohol or drugs that could impair your driving abilities.
- Do not let anyone get in the car with a driver who has consumed alcohol or drugs.
- Make sure every child has a safety belt. Sharing seat belts is not safe.
- Treat unused seat belts like any other chord. Remind kids not to play with them.
- If children are restless and acting disruptively, let them know that you can't drive safely when you are distracted. Pull the car over until they calm down.
- Make sure that you and the passengers get an adequate amount of sleep before the trip.
- When leaving/arriving at your destination walk completely around the car looking for kids, toys and pets before entering the car and starting the engine. By making sure that children are buckled into their proper safety seats, and that all parents and caregivers are aware of how to drive and travel safely, all can enjoy safe journeys throughout the holiday season and the rest of the year.
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