The holidays can be both joyful and stressful with lots of people out shopping, going to gatherings and traveling to visit relatives. Whether heading to the mall nearby or on the way to grandma’s house a few hours away, keeping alert on the roadways is a must this time of year.
Safe Kids Worldwide and the General Motors Foundation established a partnership in 1997 to protect children in and around cars with the Buckle Up program, a national child passenger safety program that has evolved into one of the most comprehensive in the nation with more than 1.8 million car seats inspected at 93,000 community events.
“What started with a sole focus on child safety seat checks has grown into something much more,” said Vivian Pickard, GM Foundation President. “As long-time partners of Safe Kids, GM and the GM Foundation are committed to keeping kids safe in and around vehicles during every stage of life. Our goal is to educate families and caregivers on the importance of buckling up on every ride, every time.”
With that in mind, Safe Kids Northeast Florida, led by THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, and GM, offer the following holiday travel safety tips:
1. Remember to buckle up every ride, every time, no matter the destination.
2. Watch out for distracted pedestrians and drivers around shopping mall parking lots, especially when backing out of parking spaces.
3. For parents of teenagers, remind them to be extra alert during the holidays when conditions are more challenging even for experienced drivers.
4. No text message or music playlist is worth the risk of an accident. Commit to keeping electronics out of your hand.
5. Always have a designated driver or use a car service to get home safely if you are heading to a party and plan to drink alcohol.
6. You never know when you have to stop abruptly so make sure to secure large gifts, hot foods and other items in your car, putting them in the trunk, if possible.
7. When traveling in large groups, all vehicle occupants need a seat belt or car seat no matter the length of the ride.
“The holidays are such a fun time but it’s a time when our attention can slip to other priorities instead of safety,” said Cynthia Dennis, RN, of Safe Kids Northeast Florida. “Making sure that we take those couple of moments to refocus and pay attention to the small details can be the difference in making sure our families have a safe and happy holiday season.”
To ensure your car seat is properly installed any time of year, make an appointment for a free car seat safety check with Safe Kids Northeast Florida by calling (904) 202.4302. For more information, visit wolfsonchildrens.org/safekids.