Your car means different things for different members of your family. And, because everyone’s needs are different, it’s important to have your car ready for the entire family.
A Quality Emergency Kit
- Cell phone – This one should be standard issue for most families.
- First aid kit – You don’t want one that’s too bulky, but you should get one that covers a wide range of potential issues. Be familiar with the items inside, too. You may need more than just a Band-Aid.
- Fire extinguisher – Car fires can happen for a variety of reasons. The faster a fire can be put out, the less damage it will cause. Multipurpose dry-chemical fire extinguishers come in a variety of sizes. You should carry a compact unit that's labeled 1A10BC or 2A10BC.
- Warning light, hazard triangle, or flares – If your vehicle is stuck on the side of the road, it's important that you give other motorists as much warning of its presence as possible, especially at night. Look for a battery-powered warning light that can be placed far from the vehicle. Reflective hazard triangles and flares are also effective.
- Tire gauge – This should be used on regularly to check the pressure in all four tires and the spare. Also, check the pressure after a big change in temperature.
- Jack and lug wrench – Check your owner's manual to find where they're located on the vehicle and how to use them.
- Portable compressor and plug kit – A portable DC-powered air compressor can also be used to inflate a tire--and is especially handy for one that suffers from a slow leak. To fix a puncture, however, you need to have it professionally repaired. Foam tire sealant can be helpful also.
- Jumper cables or a portable battery booster
- Flashlight – This can be very important if something happens at night. Choose one that is bright and weatherproof.
Car seat basics
- Use a forward-facing car seat correctly in a back seat every time your child rides in a car. Many harnesses today serve kids to 50, 60, 80 or even 100 pounds.
- Use the car seat with a harness that's right for your child's height and weight. Be sure to keep track of your child’s weight.
- Put harnesses through the slots so they are even with or above your child’s shoulders. Some seats may be different. Check the instructions.
- Make sure the buckled harness is tight, so you don’t pinch the shoulder.
- Adjust the chest clip to about armpit level.
- Use the car’s safety belt or LATCH system to lock the seat. Don’t use both at the same time.
- Your seat shouldn’t move more than one inch side to side or front to back. Grab the car seat at the safety belt path or LATCH path to test it.
- Use a top tether if equipped. Tethers limit forward motion of your child’s head in the event of a crash.
- Have your car seat checked out to make sure it’s properly installed. Stop by your neighborhood Christian Brothers Automotive for a complimentary car seat checkup. Do not allow children to play with seat belts. Treat them as you would any rope or cord.
- Be sure all occupants wear seat belts correctly every time you’re in the vehicle. Children learn by observing adult role models.
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
- If you have a heavier or taller child, find a car seat with a harness that fits a child his or her size.
- Use a booster seat for children over 100 pounds and under 4 feet, 11 inches.