Whether you are driving across the state on a family trip or simply driving your children to school, you want a car that will keep your family safe in case of an accident. In addition to finding a car equipped with safety features, it is up to you to take steps to keep your children safe in a car. Place small children in car seats, and do not let children under 13 ride in the front seat of the car.
Cars With Rollover Protection
Certain vehicles, such as SUVs and mini-vans, have a greater risk of rolling over in an accident than cars, such as sedans or compacts, do, reports the federal government’s Safer Car website. The safest cars have features that attempt to prevent rollovers. Look for a vehicle that has electronic stability control, which will help you maintain control of your car when you have to steer around a sharp turn or swerve to avoid a crash. Electronic stability control will keep the car on the right course, preventing you from losing control of the vehicle or rolling over. Another feature that can prevent rollovers is variable ride height, which adjusts the height of the car as it moves, depending on the speed and the type of road it is on.
Cars that Meet TWG standards
The safest cars for children meet the Technical Working Group’s voluntary standards for side impact airbags, according to Safer Car. Cars that meet the standards are less likely to injure children if the side airbags go off during a crash, even if the child is sitting too close to the airbags. Even if your car meets the standards, make sure your child does not lean against the part of the car where the airbag is located.
Cars with LATCH
According to the 2009 edition of “Buying a Safer Car for Child Passengers,” all cars and child safety seats made after 2002 need to have built-in lower anchors and tethers for children, or LATCH system. The LATCH system allows a parent to install a car seat in the car without using a seat belt. Anchors on the top and sides of the seat are used to fasten the seat securely to the car.
Cars with Adjustable Seat Belts and Rear Upper Belts
Children come in all sizes, and a car’s seat belt should be able to restrain a person, no matter her size, properly. Some cars have adjustable upper seat belt anchors, which allow a person to lower the height of the upper belt to hold a child in place properly. Additionally, all vehicles made after 2007 must have upper and lap belts on all rear seats, including the middle seat.
- child in the car image by Natalia Pavlova from Fotolia.com