It seems like the summer just started, yet it’s already time for those back-to-school preparations. Along with school uniforms, supplies, and cafeteria lunch accounts, don’t forget to also prepare your vehicle.
Whether you end up stuck in traffic for a prolonged period, get a flat tire and are sitting with the children on the side of the road, or several other delays that could happen while en route, you want to have everything you need at your fingertips, so you can manage the situation as quickly and easily as you can. Here’s a quick list to review to make sure you can be cool and calm under pressure:
- Emergency Kit: There are standard emergency kits you can purchase and/or pull together for your car that contain common items to keep in your car, so you will have the tools available to handle most minor emergencies. Be sure you have your kit handy and up-to-date. (See Kwik Kar’s Emergency Kit Check-List)
- Phone List: Most schools have a directory with the contact information of the school staff, along with the families in your child’s school or grade. It is a good idea to preload the important names into your phone and add them to a ‘Group’ so you can easily find them. This includes families you know and trust who drive your same route to school in case there’s an issue and they need to swing by at a designated point to get your children while you stay with the car. Also include the school nurse’s number, and who to call in case your children will be late.
- Car Care: If you’ve been too busy this summer to check your car’s preventative maintenance recommendations, now is the time. First, check your wiper blades and washer fluid so you can clean your windshield when needed, as well as see safely in the rain. Next, make sure your brakes are inspected, your tires have plenty of tread, and all your exterior lights are functioning. If you’d prefer, Kwik Kar can help you make sure your car is Car-Pool ready, so come on in!
- Back-up Camera: There are many cars on the road in great running condition that pre-date the installation of back-up cameras. Thankfully, there are many cost-effective solutions that can be added to your car as an after-market item. Installing a back-up camera is an extra precaution you can take to ensure children are safe both inside and outside your vehicle.
- Buckle Up: As children grow, there’s an assumption that they know how to buckle themselves in properly, but that isn’t always the case. Whether they slump in the seat so that the belt slips off the protective hip area, or they swing the shoulder strap under their arm instead of over their shoulder for comfort, it could mean the difference between safety and a bad injury in the case of an accident. Take time for a quick safety lesson. Make sure all safety belts are operating properly, and that everyone knows how to properly use them. For help, check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website, which has important tips on seat belt fit and position, as well as the proper installation of booster and car seats.
Staying calm is the best way to manage any unexpected situation, especially when there are children in the car. As a natural human trait, the demeanor or characteristic the person in authority presents (which would be you, the parent, and/or adult in the situation), is the same response those in your care will typically replicate. Being prepared is one of the best ways to keep you, and those with you, calm and focused in almost any unexpected circumstance, including the chaos that comes with going back to school!