As a parent, caregiver, or guardian, the safety of your child is the utmost priority – whether that’s in your arms, your home, or your car. And because car crashes are a leading cause of death and injury for children, it’s important to be proactive and know how to improve your and your child’s safety while driving.
For Child Passenger Safety Week, we spoke with our very own Metromile parents to hear more about their safe driving practices and how their driving behaviors have changed since having children.
Safer driving habits can protect children and adults alike
Brigitte, a Metromile Recruiter, said her driving habits changed the moment her baby began growing in her belly. “I noticed I would slow down more than usual and if I knew there might be traffic, I would make sure to leave early enough to arrive at my next destination with enough time to spare and then some,” Brigitte said.
For many parents and caregivers, driving a child around can bring on new stressors and worries. Underwriting Assistant Erika Reine also saw her driving habits change once she became a mom. “I tend to check my mirrors more with the little one in the car – and even when I don’t have him with me,” she said. Like Brigitte, Erika tries to avoid peak driving times to reduce the number of cars on the road. On average, car accidents tend to be more frequent on weekends when there are more people driving so trying to avoid these peaks can help keep you and your passengers safer.
“As a parent, you tend to mostly think of worst-case scenarios. And that mentality motivates me to do my part — drive at the speed limit, make sure my turn signals show my next move, and do my best to leave enough time so I don’t feel rushed,” Brigitte explained. Her changes in driving habits now help ensure the safety of herself, her family, and everyone on the road.
Keep tabs on your driving
Whether you’re sending off a quick text, changing the music, or answering a call, distracted driving can increase your risk of getting into an accident. To employ better driving habits only use your phone prior to starting your drive and consider putting your phone on silent to reduce distractions. If a call or text needs to be urgently answered, safely pull over. Metromile customers can now monitor their own driving habits by using our new Driving Insights feature, which offers tips to help make better, safer decisions with tips personalized to an individual’s driving behavior and lifestyle.
Another way to improve your child’s safety is to limit your driving altogether. As Senior Communications Manager and parent Jeff explains, “the utility of driving is so high that we tolerate a level of danger we don’t elsewhere” so reducing the amount you drive can reduce the likelihood of your child getting hurt. Turn fewer car rides into an opportunity to spend more time walking or biking with your child and utilize public transportation where available as a safer, cheaper, and greener alternative to driving.
Of course, you likely can’t eliminate driving from your daily routine altogether, but even taking one less drive a day can improve the safety of you, your family, and everyone on the road. Check out our blog post on alternatives to driving in a car for more ways to get around town.
What to know about child car seats
Aside from employing safer driving habits and reducing the amount you drive, you can also take steps to ensure your child is buckled up safely in accordance with their age, weight, and height.
As a new parent, Corporate Paralegal Tina is learning things every day but has already amassed a great deal of knowledge around child car seats. Her biggest takeaways so far are around the safety of the actual car seat you are buckling a child into. For example, Tina learned that car seats can actually expire and to be cautious of accepting a used, second-hand car seat. According to Safe Ride 4 Kids, car seats typically shouldn’t be used if they were previously involved in a car accident, even if a child was not in the car seat during the accident.
Through her parenting circles, she also found out about Target’s car seat trade-in program where people can recycle old, expired, or damaged car seats – as a bonus, you can get a 20% off coupon for select baby gear!
As for installing a car seat, Tina suggests having a Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST) initially install your car seat. “You can then uninstall and reinstall the car seat in front of them to ensure you do it correctly,” Tina advises. In addition to finding a CPST, Kids Safe Worldwide provides great educational materials on how to install a car seat along with other tips for keeping children safe in the car.
Find Out More
If you’re looking for more ways to increase the safety of your child while in the car, there are endless resources available for new parents and caregivers. The United States Department of Transportation and Kids Safe Worldwide are great resources to begin with if you are looking for tips and advice on how to keep your child safe while on the road.