Use Child-Safety Locks To Keep Kids Safer in Car

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Kids are clever: clever enough to train you to read umpteen books to them every night, in just the right order, after filling their favorite sippy cup with just the right amount of water — thus delaying bedtime indefinitely. Around age 2, kids also start getting very curious, wanting to manipulate anything in sight to test out their newly developed fine motor skills. This includes the potentially dangerous habit of playing with your car’s inside door handle.

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You may think your child can’t reach the door handle while straitjacketed into a child-safety seat, but before you’re proven wrong by a toddler popping open the car door while you’re driving, be smart and check that your car’s child-safety door locks are engaged. Do it before you need it!

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Open your car’s rear doors. While many cars have a switch or lever on the doorframe accompanied by a diagram showing which way to flip the switch to activate the safety locks, they’re usually not self-explanatory. Some vehicles may have a recessed button with a small notch cut into it, such as the one in this 2015 Volvo V60 (photo above). In this case, use a car key, a flathead screwdriver or even a dime to insert into the notch, then turn it to engage the safety lock.

Don’t forget to repeat this maneuver on both rear car doors. Since the switches are manual, they only engage the lock on that door.

And while you’re at it, you might want to start paring down that bedtime routine a little. Don’t you think it’s getting out of hand? photos by Evan Sears and Jennifer Newman

Photo of Kristin Varela
Former Senior Family Editor Kristin Varela blends work and family life by driving her three tween-teen girls every which way in test cars. Email Kristin Varela

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