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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

As a parent, you know how important it is to keep your kids safe as they run, jump and skip through everyday life. You undoubtedly make sure that they wear helmets when they ride their bikes, knee pads when they’re cruising on their scooters and even have a first aid stash that would rival your drug store shelf. As hard as you work to keep your kids safe elsewhere, are you making sure that they’re safe on the road? Here are five ways to ensure your child’s safety both in and out of the car:

1.Car Seats

Car seat laws have changed drastically since most of us were children. Today, children are in car or booster seats well past their toddler years. Your baby should be placed in a rear-facing child safety seat until they reach the maximum weight for the seat as dictated by the seat’s manufacturer. Your child may be well over two-years old by the time they are heavy enough to be front-facing in their safety seat and nine by the time they are out of their booster seat.

2.Seat Belts

Make sure that you are using seat belts properly in your car when your child is in a safety seat and once they are tall enough to ride without a booster seat. Your safety or booster seat will come with instructions that explain how to best use your car’s safety belts. Once your child is out of a booster seat, you’ll want to make sure the back seat’s safety belt is properly adjusted.

The shoulder belt should come across your child’s shoulder and chest, never across his neck. Most cars available today have adjustable safety belts that will allow you to make sure you are able to fit the belt to your child to provide optimum safety.

3.Pedestrian Safety

If your child walks to and from friend’s houses, school or even the corner store, make sure that he understands that he should never walk in the roadway. If there are no sidewalks available, your child should not be permitted to walk without an adult. Be sure that your child knows to look both ways before he crosses the street and to use crosswalks whenever available.

4.Two, Four and Eight-Wheeled Safety

Whether your child is on a bike, on a skateboard or on a pair of rollerblades, he or she should always be wearing a helmet, elbow pads and knee protection. They should also know that anytime they are on the road, they should be riding with the flow of traffic, not against it, and have an understanding of hand signals. Your kids should utilize the sidewalk whenever possible and use crosswalks just as they would if they were walking.

5.Lead By Example

You are your child’s greatest role model so be sure to always lead by example. When you are in the car, you should have your safety belt on, no matter if you are the driver or a passenger. When out walking, you should be on the sidewalk and only cross the street by way of the crosswalk. If you and your child are out for a bike ride, make sure that you have your helmet on just as you expect your child to have his on. If you follow common sense safety rules, you can be sure that your child is absorbing your lessons, whether you are verbalizing them or not.

There are a variety of dangers on the road, and it is nearly impossible to ensure the safety of your child 100 percent of the time. All you can do is teach your child how to be safe and hope that he or she obeys the rules. By following the five tips above, you will ensure the safety of your child to the best of your ability. For more car safety information, check out www.carinsurance.org.uk.

Karen Boyarsky is an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @boyarskykareni.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to keep their kids safe.

Image courtesy of Fort Rucker via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.