5 Unsafe Car Moves
1. Climbing into the backseat.
When the baby's crying or the kids are really bored, it's incredibly tempting to slide into the backseat while the car is moving instead of waiting until the next time your spouse stops the car. That's a really terrible idea, says Jamie Schaefer-Wilson, author of Consumer Reports Guide to Childproofing and Safety. "If someone brakes and you're not belted, you become a backseat bullet."
2. Picking up your baby, even for a second.
Your infant's crying, and it's so tempting to take her out of her car seat just for a minute to soothe her. "There's never a reason to take the baby out of the car seat," says Schaefer-Wilson. Your child should not be unrestrained at any time.
3. Traveling with pets loose in the car.
Sometimes pets are too big or too yappy to restrain in a carrier for the entire drive. Bad idea. If there's an accident, your 30-pound pet could hurtle across the car and harm your child or himself.
4. Packing the car to the gills.
You've seen cars packed so full that the driver couldn't see out the rear window. You don't want to surround your children with objects that could become projectiles when you brake.
5. Forgetting to double-check the car seat.
Kids get fidgety and play with their car-seat straps, especially on long trips. Each time you strap your child back into his seat, check to see whether the straps have loosened and that the harness buckle is still in the right place. "It's almost a sure bet your child is going to play with it or loosen it or try to get comfortable," says Schaefer-Wilson. Remember, the harness system should be tight enough around the child so you can't pinch a portion of the strap between your fingers or fit more than a finger between your child's body and the system.