7 July 2016 · Motoring Tips & Advice
How to Drive Safely with Kids in the Car | Phil Gilbert Toyota
That first drive home can be nerve-racking. Your baby is safely ensconced in the approved, properly installed, baby-seat, but even so, you find yourself taking the corners a little more slowly, braking more gently, checking your mirrors more frequently.
While you may soon grow accustomed to getting out and about with your precious cargo, the responsibility for the safety of your children while driving remains forever in the back of your mind.
Rules are Rules
While we might set our own rules inside our homes, there are rules around driving with children that are set out in national law and are non-negotiable.
Whether it’s a baby capsule, convertible car-seat or booster, child-restraints are a legal requirement for children under seven and the size and type is dependent on your child’s size and/or age. Your state transport department can provide detailed information on the type of restraint required for your child. In New South Wales, this information can be found here.
Child restraints must be approved, which means they must meet the requirements of Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 1754. The cd restraint, or the packaging/manual, should indicate that it meets the standard.
The law also stipulates where children can and can’t sit in a car:
- Children under four years of age must sit in the back seat of a car with two or more rows.
- Children between four and seven must sit in the back seat unless the back seats are occupied by children under four, in which case they may sit in the front seat using a booster seat.
We are Not Amused!
Meeting the legal requirements isn’t the end of the story when it comes to driving safely with children.
As a rule, children aren’t too fond of sitting quietly and calmly for long periods of time. While the view from the window might be interesting for the first 40 seconds, it won’t be long before your child will have a need for food, amusement and/or your attention.
It’s important for your children to realise that your attention must stay on the road while driving. Oddly enough, patiently explaining this fact while driving doesn’t often have the desired effect. For this reason, prepare ahead and make sure your child has access to their drink bottle, a healthy (non-messy) snack or their favourite travel toy. You might want to keep them amused with a game of I Spy, a singalong or “whoever spots the first pink car wins!”.
More and more families are opting for DVD rear seat entertainment systems which are ideal for keeping kids amused, particularly on long journeys. Vehicle manufacturers are awake to the realities of driving with children. Features such as conversation mirrors which allow the driver to view passengers in the rear seats without having to turn around are standard features in family vehicles like the Toyota Tarago.
For more tips on driving safely with children, or to learn more about the innovative design and comfort features in our large range of family vehicles, speak to the experts at Phil Gilbert Toyota or enquire online today.