Safety First

Actionable quick tips for making sure your child stays safe in the car

Parents can be distracted by many different factors when they're driving with a child in a car seat.

Photo by Getty Images

You're driving along, when suddenly little Sally hurdles her Cheerios at you from the back seat and begins screaming at an ear-splitting decibel level comparable to the last concert you went to (and you haven't been to one since she was born). You quickly look back at your precious daughter, averting your eyes from the road. Despite her wails, Sally seems alright, so you focus on the road again, just in time to swerve to avoid hitting a piece of tire.

Your child is your most precious cargo, yet also a distraction. This is a juxtaposition parents face when driving with their children. Even if you're not distracted by your child, you might get distracted by any number of other things. It's no wonder 69% of parents and 73% of new parents reported that they "actively worry about their children's safety in a car," according to a new study from Volvo Car USA and The Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll conducted this study on Volvo's behalf from May 21-29, 2019. For the study, The Harris Poll surveyed 2,000 licensed drivers ages 18 and older. Of these drivers, 1,236 (61.8%) were new parents – parents who had children age 2 or under at the time of the study. The remaining 764 (38.2%) drivers were adults of all ages. The survey results were published in "Volvo Reports: Child Safety in the Back Seat."

Historically, safety has always been a prime focus for Volvo. In 1959, the automaker invented the three-point safety belt, in 1964 they tested the first child restraint prototype, and in 1978 Volvo introduced the child safety booster cushion. Volvo and Britax, a car seat company which started in Europe and expanded to the United States in 1996, have partnered to come up with a variety of practical tips for parents based on the survey results.

Car Seat Research and Installation

Do your homework.

Sixty-six percent of new parents found researching car seats and car safety tools to be overwhelming. The amount of time and effort required to narrow down the many car seat options may be daunting, but it is crucial that you make the right decision. You must find a car seat that works with your vehicle, child, and budget.

Contact your car seat and/or vehicle manufacturer if you have questions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that 59% of child seats are not installed correctly. Read your car seat instructions and your vehicle's owner manual to determine whether the car seat should be secured using the seat belt or the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system. Using both simultaneously is ineffective and discouraged, as it can lessen the security that each separately provides. Be sure to check your vehicle's manual and contact your vehicle manufacturer if you have further questions.

Use third-party resources if needed.

Safe Kids Worldwide offers a variety of resources for parents, including car seat checkups to ensure you've installed your car seat correctly. Parents can also meet with a Certified Passenger Safety (CPS) Technician, who will teach them to install their car seat. Often, local police departments and fire stations have a CPS technician on staff who can help for free.

Car Seat Use

Properly secure your child's harness.

NHTSA found that nearly 60% of child harnesses were too loose. Don't allow your child to wear a thick jacket or be covered by a blanket while in the car seat, as either of these means the harness can't be as snug as it should be. Additionally, make sure you position the harness correctly – it should be on your child's pelvis and around their chest and shoulders.

Your child's weight and height are more important than their age.

Car seat and booster seat (or "child passenger restraint system") laws vary by state. Your child's weight and height are more important than their age when deciding when to allow them to face forward in their car seat, move to a booster seat, or begin sitting in the front passenger seat.

Keep your child facing backwards in their car seat "until they reach the maximum height and weight restrictions for the seat, as rear-facing seats spread crash forces more evenly across the back of the child seat, and thereby better protect their vulnerable neck." Likewise, even once your child reaches the age at which they are technically allowed to begin sitting in a booster seat rather than a car seat, or in the front seat rather than the back seat, do not make either change if your child does not yet weigh enough and/or is not yet tall enough.

Other Tips for Parents

Always wear your seat belt.

According to the study, 71% of parents and 87% of new parents have unbuckled their seatbelts while driving with their children. This is unsafe. If you want to comfort your child or pick up their toy, pull off the road to a safe area and park before you unbuckle.

Reduce and contain loose items.

Don't keep too many items, especially large ones, in your car. Ensure that the items you do have in your car are contained as much as possible. If your child throws something at you while you're driving, this can distract you – 20% of parents report that their child has thrown a toy at them from the back seat. During a crash, objects flying through the air can cause serious harm to you or your children.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

A new short film by Koenigsegg features the Regera super car.

Photo courtesy of Koenigsegg

It's not coming to a theater near you, but you can watch it on YouTube. Koenigsegg has released its first featurette, starring none other than the Regera super car.

The Regera is a hybrid that combines the power of a twin-turbo 5.0-liter V8 engine with three electric motors. It achieves 1500 horsepower. The car doesn't have a traditional gearbox, instead relying on hydraulic coupling. Because of this, at speeds under 30 mph, the Regera leans on its electric motors for power. Above 30 mph, the car car utilizes its V8, taking off in a mad dash when the accelerator is push to the ground.

It can get from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. From a standstill to 249 mph takes less than 20 seconds. Those numbers make the car the fastest accelerating car in the world. Maximum speed is electronically restricted to 255 mph.

"Time to Reign: A Koenigsegg Mini Blockbuster" was scripted and produced almost entirely in-house. It's a heist story filmed in 4K with a covert operation, evil accomplices, and a delightfully stereotypical absentminded guard.

Its cast is made up of members of the Koenigsegg team. The film features company founder Christian von Koenigsegg and his Regera in a starring role alongside designer Marcelle Roeli, marketing and event coordinator Christina Nordin, and customer and loyalty coordinator Kirsi Kärkkäinen. Other Koenigsegg personnel serve in supporting roles, including Gustav Nisson, a company assistant whose dance moves play a prominent role in the story line.

Mrs. Koenigsegg herself, Halldora von Koenigsegg, who serves as the company's COO, makes an appearance at the end.

The quick film, which runs nearly 12 minutes including the credits, is available to watch below.

Time to Reign: A Koenigsegg Mini Blockbuster www.youtube.com

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Volvo has updated the Volvo on Call app for PHEV and EV drivers.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Volvo has improved the Volvo on Call smartphone app to increase its functionality regarding plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV). The enhancements are available in all Volvo on Call markets.

The app now allows drivers to see how much distance they have driven in fully electric model and view their electricity and fuel consumption, in addition to other metrics. Later this year the service will also give users the ability to see the impact of their driving on their CO2 footprint, as well as the estimated fuel costs saved by driving in fully electric mode.

Volvo on Call app The Volvo on Call app now has added functionality.Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

"We want the Volvo On Call app to make life easier for you as a user and create a more personal experience," said Ödgärd Andersson, chief digital officer. "As the car becomes ever more connected, the potential of the app increases and we intend over time for the app to be as much a part of the Volvo as the car itself."

For applicable Volvo Recharge models, bought during the offer period, the app will also inform drivers on the status of the electricity refund that launched last year (varies by market).

Volvo Recharge refers to all Volvo brand PHEV and EV vehicles.

All Volvo one Call functionalities are available for all Volvo PHEV models built and sold by the company after 2015 in the 47 countries where Volvo on call operates. In China, functionalities similar to the app's capabilities will be added to the WeChat platform.

Volvo XC40 Recharge side plug Volvo has launched the XC40 Recharge as its first mass market battery electric vehicle. Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

"Just like a step counter helps people exercise more, I believe that by giving people better insight into their driving patterns, it will help them to drive in a more sustainable way," said Björn Annwall, head of EMEA at Volvo Cars. "We see plug-in hybrids as 'part time electric cars' that encourage changes in people's behavior and help pave the way for a transition towards fully electric cars."

Volvo is currently the leader in PHEV sales, which comprise nearly 25 percent of all sales in Europe. The automaker is planning to make 50 percent of its global sales EVs by 2025 with the rest hybrid models. Its first fully electric car, the XC40 Recharge P8, will go into production later this year in Ghent, Belgium.

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