Whenever you ride in a car, wear your seatbelt every time. No matter how short the trip is — even if it’s only around the corner — you still need to buckle up. This is so important because if the car you’re riding in gets into an accident, the seatbelt restrains you. Even if the car is moving slowly, you can still get thrown around if you’re not wearing your seatbelt.
When you get into a car, always buckle up right away. Cars have a lap and shoulder belt that are connected as one piece, and the whole thing needs to be locked by hand.
If you’re wearing a seatbelt correctly:
- The lap (lower) part of the belt should be sitting low and tight across the upper part of your hips. It should never go across the upper half of your belly.
- The shoulder part of the seatbelt should fit snugly across your chest and shoulder, not under your arm or across your neck or face.
Sometimes seatbelts need to be adjusted to fit a kid correctly, so ask an adult to make sure your seatbelt fits right.
Riding in a friend’s or relative’s car is no excuse to skip the seatbelt. Even if your friend or friend’s parents don’t wear seatbelts, always wear yours. And don’t ever share a seatbelt with a friend — it might look like fun to buckle up as a pair, but you could both get hurt in an accident.
Get in the Back
Here’s another important safety rule: Sit in the back seat. Children who are 12 years old and younger need to be sitting in the back. It’s simply the safest place to be. If the car you’re riding in gets into an accident, you have much less chance of hitting something hard like the windshield if you’re in the back. You also won’t be injured when the airbag inflates quickly during a crash.
If you’re in the back seat with friends or brothers and sisters, everyone needs to keep their seatbelts on and not mess around. It can be hard for the driver to concentrate on driving and see what’s going on outside the car if you’re jumping around back there. It can be dangerous and everyone could get hurt.
What about Air Bags?
If a car with air bags is in a front-end accident, the bags burst out of the steering wheel and dashboard and — whoosh! — blow up like big balloons. This happens very quickly — in the blink of an eye. Air bags cushion passengers during an accident to keep them from hitting the dashboard or windshield.
But even though the bags have saved many adults’ lives, kids 12 years and under should never sit in the front seat of a car that has air bags. That’s because air bags are made to protect a bigger person’s body, and when they open they can hurt kids.
- When should you wear your seatbelt?
- True or false? Why? ‘I don’t need to wear a seatbelt because I am in my friend’s car.’
- Where should the lap part of the seatbelt be?
across your upper half of your belly OR low and tight across upper part of the hips.
- True or false? ‘The shoulder part of the seatbelt should go under your arm.’
‘The seatbelt restrains you.’ What does restrains mean?
What is the purpose of airbags?
‘…in the blink of an eye…’ What does this phrase tell you about airbags?