Everyone is concerned about the effects of cars on the environment, as well as the ever rising price of gas. Therefore, it only makes sense to use carpools to transport children to school. As a carpool driver, there are some procedures you must keep in mind to transport children safely and to make the daily drive to and from school as distraction-free as possible. Here are some good reminders for the carpool driver:
The Seatbelt Click: Accidents can happen anywhere, even just backing out of a driveway. In order to keep the safety of all your passengers, especially your smallest ones, don’t start backing out of the driveway until you hear all seatbelts click in place.
Check your lights: Make sure all your light indicators—including brake lights, headlights and turn signals are in good working order to alert other drivers to your intentions and help avoid accidents.
Maintain Tires: Tires that are underinflated are more likely to blow, in addition, they are more hazardous in wet conditions. Be sure to check the tire pressure in your tires before you start carpooling and every couple of months thereafter.
Booster seats: For smaller children, booster seats may be needed. Kids who have yet to hit state-approved height and weight limits are required to sit in a booster seat to ensure their safety and that seatbelts fit them properly. Check with your state department of transportation to find out the height and weight requirements for children to not require a booster seat.
Backseat is Best: Make sure that younger children do not sit in the front seat where the airbag could suffocate them or could open too quickly for their bodies to handle. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children under 13 years old sit in the back seat. If your older child (ages 10-13) needs to ride in the front seat, be sure to turn the airbag off so it will not discharge in an accident.
No Cell Phone While Driving: Answering and making calls, texting, even talking through a headset adds another distraction to the many already on your plate. Since it can be distracting to see a ringing phone or text waiting for you, it is best to leave your cell phone in your purse, pocket or glove compartment for the length of the drive. Driving your child and their friends to school is an excellent way for you to interact and get to know them. Rather than talking on the phone, use this time to talk to the carpool about their day at school or upcoming events.
Emergency Situations: Make sure that the children in your carpool understand what to do in the case of an emergency situation. A situation may occur where you are unable to pick up the children and may need to send someone else in your place. Give the children a password that the backup driver can use so that they know it’s safe to go with them. If the replacement adult does not know the password, the children know not to ride with them.
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