School's starting again, here's tips to carpool with kids in the car

School bus. Walking. Perhaps even biking. There are a lot of ways to get to school, and catching a ride with mom and dad or a family friend is certainly not unheard of. If you're part of a student carpool, Graco Children's Products, a a Newell Rubbermaid company that will happily sell you a car seat or two, and Safe Kids USA have issues some tips on safety when you've got a car full of young children. By sharing driving duties, you're taking a car off the road, no need to be unsafe about it.
Graco's tips are pretty self-explanatory, but if this is your first year carpooling, you might enjoy the refresher course. Direct from Graco, we have:
  • Always place children under 12 in the rear seat of a vehicle.
  • Booster seats, car seats or seat belts should be provided for every child passenger in the vehicle -- choose the appropriate seat for each sized child.
  • Choose booster seats that are appealing to children or even better, include your child in the decision-making process so they are happy to use the booster seat.
  • Don't forget to check that all child safety seats are properly secured according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Every door should be locked once all passengers are safely buckled in the vehicle. If child safety locks are available, make sure they are in place.
  • Fill out a contact sheet for every child in the carpool. Keep this information readily available in case of an emergency.
I'd add, depending on the students' ages, the idea that you could talk about the environment on the ride. You could do math problems to figure out what the mpg per rider is when you've got 4 vs. 5 vs. 6 people in the vehicle, or explain why roaring from a stoplight uses more gas than a gentle acceleration. You know, the kind of thing kids really want to talk about.

[Source: Graco Children's Products Inc.]

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