Has your summer vacation come to an end? If it is time to go home, we must take into account a number of safety measures. Check the vehicle and the child restraint system before the journey to ensure a safe journey. It is also important to plan the journey and take into account a series of precautionary measures and always drive responsibly.
THE VEHICLE MUST ALWAYS BE IN GOOD CONDITION
-Have you been to the beach? Clean the vehicle thoroughly, both inside and out, to remove sand and salt. By doing this, we will be comfortable during the journey and avoid, for example, dirty windows, which can impair visibility.
-If the vehicle has been parked for a long time, check that the battery is in good working order, as it is one of the vehicle elements that suffers most from sudden changes in temperature and immobility.
-Also check the tires. If the car has been parked for a long time, they may be deformed on the side that has been in contact with the ground. Check the pressure (always the pressure indicated by the manufacturer and taking into account the load), the tread, and that there are no bulges, cracks or other damage. By law, the tire tread depth should not be under 1.6 mm.
-Check the oil levels, power steering, brake liquid, anti-freeze and the windshield wiper fluid.
-That the brakes are in good condition and working well (brake pads and discs).
-Check that all lighting is working properly and that there are no burnt-out bulbs.
-The front and rear wipers should be in good condition in order to remove water and dirt from the windscreens.
-It is a good idea to check the air conditioning, heaters and cabin air filter.
-Don't forget to have the mandatory vehicle documentationon board: driving license, registration certificate and MOT card. As well as everything necessary in the car to act in case of an emergency (reflective waistcoat and triangles or V-16 sign).
IS THE CHILD SEAT READY TO TRAVEL?
-Clean the child seat before starting the journey. The child restraint system could be dirty with sand or salt. It has also been exposed to intense sunlight. Here are some tips on how to clean a CRS.When in doubt, the best course of action is to refer to the manufacturer's instructions which will indicate the most appropriate cleaning product and method.
-Heat tends to wear out the materials (plastic can expand and contract, losing its original shape) and this will deteriorate the seat. It is important to check that no seat parts have been altered or lost their usual shape. For details, see our infographic: "The essential parts of a child seat"
-Now check that there are no tears or surface damage to the seat.
-Check the anchoring. This is absolutely essential if the CRS has the ISOFIX system. The anchors are the strongest fastening points between the child seat and the car. Shown below are the different anchors and fastening points found in child restraint systems.
If the child seat is affixed by the seat belt, make sure these are in perfect condition as well. You should also check the "top tether" and the anti-tipping leg, if the seat has them. Here we address how to check that your child seat is properly fitted.
-Check how the child is secured: make sure the harness clips together correctly and is not loose. If using the seat belt, check it is in good condition, that it can tighten properly and is not frayed.
-Move the backrest and adjust it to the right height. Check that all parts move and adjust correctly. It is important that the child's head is properly positioned in relation to the headrest and never protrudes from the top. The headrest should be about 4 centimeters away from the head. The headrest needs to be adjusted so the head's center of gravity, usually at eye level, coincides with the strongest part of the headrest. It is important to block the headrest so it cannot easily move or be manipulated. Here we discuss the position of the head rest in child seats.
OTHER TIPS BEFORE AND DURING THE JOURNEY
-All family members should sit in the right place. We remind you that children must be in the rear seats. Don't miss this article where we offer safety tips for families on long journeys. In this infographic also take a look at the best way for large families to travel.
-Planning journeys. Choose the safest routes and remember to stop every hour and a half to rest and let the children stretch. Here we talk about the importance of these rest stops, especially when it comes to young children.
-All objects and packages must be securely fastened and in the luggage compartment area. In this infographic we address this problem and how they can be projected in the event of braking or an accident.
-Keep a pleasant temperature during the journey, between 21 and 23 degrees. It goes without saying that you must never leave a child alone inside a vehicle to make sure that they do not suffer from heat stroke.
-Comply with traffic rules and respect other road users. Increase caution for vulnerable users. You must obviously comply with the maximum speed limits, the safety distance, take the necessary breaks and avoid distractions and never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and/or substances that may affect your ability to drive.