Is Your Child in the Right Car Seat?

Picture Source: http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/cps

Picture Source: http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/cps

Every 33 seconds, one child under the age of 13 is involved in a motor vehicle crash.  Deaths and injuries can always be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts.  Here is what you need to know to help your family stay safe.

All children ages 12 and under should ride properly buckled up in the back seat of all motor vehicles.

All children 2 and under should always ride in a rear-facing car seat that is placed in the back seat of the vehicle.   Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat or in front of an airbag. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat, if they are not the proper height, weight and age.

Keep children in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible. It’s the best to remain rear- facing until they reach the maximum height or weight limit allowed for that particular car seat. Once outgrowing a rear-facing car seat, your child is now ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.

Keep children in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they have reached the maximum height or weight limit. Roughly around ages 4-7, children outgrow the forward-facing car seat, and move to a booster seat, which is still placed in the back seat.

Children should stay in booster seats until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie across the child’s thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest, never across the neck or face. Once children have reached the proper height and weight to use a seat belt, remember that for the best protection they should remain in the back seat until age 12.

Make the Most of Family Fun Month!

Now that it’s August, summer may feel like it’s over. Back to school shopping has already begun and vacations are coming to an end. However, that doesn’t mean that the summer fun has to stop!

August is National Family Fun Month, which means that it’s a great opportunity to seize the remainder of summer by spending time with family. If you are about family togetherness, here are some cool activities to help you and your family finish out the summer.

IMG_2188Day trips are a great way to spend time with the family. If you checked the weather forecast and it’s going to be hot/sunny, then plan a trip to the beach. Enjoy the fresh air and the cool water. If the water isn’t your families thing, then a trip to the zoo is something that is both lively and educational. A competitive game of miniature golf can be fun or even a trip to an amusement park can make for much laughter and fun.  But before you take any of these trips, make sure to download the #njtrafficapp. This FREE app allows you to see the road conditions across NJ and helps you plan accordingly.

Jump on your bicycles and take a family bike ride.  Make sure everyone is wearing properly fitted helmets and all bikes are in good riding condition.  Bring plenty of water and sunscreen and discover new ways to appreciate your neighborhood.  If you are more adventurous, visit NJ Family Biking for a complete list of trails to ride.

Have Pokemon fans in your house?  Lace up your sneakers and take a walk with the family.  Most public places provide ample Pokemon balls and critters are everywhere to be found.  Just be sure to review pedestrian safety tips before you head out.

And when the day is coming to close, consider having a family movie night.  Pick out your favorite family movie, get the popcorn ready and relax with the kids!

Spending time with family is a great way to make memories that will last with you for the rest of your life. Make sure to take part in August Family Fun Month. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are safe and are having fun with your family!

Bike Safety Tips for Kids

Bike riding can be a lot of fun, especially for kids. It’s a way for them to get out of the house and enjoy themselves in the fresh air. However, bike accidents do occur. They can happen pretty often if the child is not paying attention to their surroundings. Every year, about 300,000 kids go to the emergency room because of bike injuries. A majority of the time it’s because they weren’t looking where they were going.

Picture Sources:  http://www.capjournal.com/people/health/riding-for-fun-riding-for-health/article_c11adcaa-690b-5b42-8e26-9fc324360473.html?mode=image&photo=0

Picture Source: http://www.capjournal.com/people/health/riding-for-fun-riding-for-health/article_c11adcaa-690b-5b42-8e26-9fc324360473.html?mode=image&photo=0

In order to fix this problem and for your child to stay safe while riding, here are some bike safety tips for them to follow:

Always wear a helmet. They may not seem like the coolest and most popular item out there, but they can save your life. A bike helmet can be annoying if not fitted properly. Make sure you size the helmet to fit your head. You do not want it too big or too small. Along with the helmet, always wear sneakers. Open toed shoes and sandals can fall off your feet or get stuck in the bike pedal while riding.

If it’s a hot day outside make sure to bring a bottle of water, sunglasses, and use sunscreen. It’s very important to stay hydrated when doing a physical activity- like bike riding. If the sun seems to be out then you should apply some sunscreen to areas of your body where the sun will be hitting them. It’s not worth getting really bad sunburn, even if you are going for a short ride.

Lastly, do not use your phone while riding your bike. Text messages , emails, calls, and the new game “Pokémon GO” can all wait.  Although it seems like fun to use the app while riding, it is a huge distraction. Not looking where you are going can cause an accident and even lead to injuries. Always make sure you come to a complete stop when playing or checking your phone. That way you are aware of your surroundings and are able to get to your destination safely.

Halloween Pedestrian and Driver Safety Tips

halloween safety tips The ghosts, monsters and other creatures walking the streets on Oct. 31 aren’t the most frightful thing about Halloween. Here’s a scary fact: Halloween is the most dangerous night of the year for children walking on roadways across the country.

Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other night of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children are four times more likely to be hit by a vehicle on Halloween. That makes following safe pedestrian and driver practices all the more important as children set out to trick or treat this year.

The Street Smart NJ campaign wants to make sure that costumes are the only thing causing a scare this year. Be sure to follow these tips to make your Halloween happy and safe.

For Pedestrians

• Make sure costumes don’t impair your child’s ability to walk or see. KidsHealth.org warns against wearing masks that can limit visibility.

• Before crossing look left, right, and then left again.

• Use sidewalks. When there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.

• Be visible. The Safe Kids Worldwide campaign suggests adding reflective tape to costumes or having children carry a light or glow stick. A survey by the group found that only 18 percent of parents have their children use safety lighting on Halloween.

• Cross at corners and intersections and use marked crosswalks when possible.

For Drivers

• Obey the speed limit. AAA suggests driving 5 mph below the posted speed limit on Halloween.

• Stop for pedestrians. New Jersey law requires motorists to stop for pedestrians in cross-walks. Violations of the law carry a $200 fine and two points on your license.

• Don’t drive distracted. New Jersey prohibits talking and texting while driving. Fines range from $200 for first-time offenders to as much as $800 for repeat offenders.

• Drive sober. On Halloween Night between 2009 and 2013, 119 people were killed by drunk driving, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration.

Want more suggestions on how to stay safe? Check out our Street Smart Safety Tips page.

This post was written and created by Street Smart NJ Pedestrian Safety Campaign in conjunction with NJTPA.