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The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are arguably the busiest of the year. Families are planning trips to visit relatives, searching for thoughtful gifts, preparing special meals and many other tasks to make the holidays the most wonderful time of the year. In these fast-paced weeks, it’s easy to move so quickly that we forget some safety basics. As you plan the holidays, keep in mind these tips for safe holiday travel:

Watch out for Distracted Drivers and Pedestrians

1. Shopping center parking lots are busier during the holidays. Keep an eye out for distracted pedestrians and drivers who may not be paying attention to you, especially when backing out of parking spaces.
2. For parents of teens, remind them to be extra alert during this holiday season, when conditions are more challenging even for experienced drivers.
3. Make sure you are not distracted while driving. Commit to keeping your phone down. No text message or playlist is worth the risk.

Make Sure Every Passenger has a Seat Belt, Car Seat or Booster Seat

1. Remember to buckle up every ride, every time, whether it’s the long trip to visit family or around the block to the mall.
2. When traveling in large groups, all vehicle occupants need their own seat belt or car seat, even for short rides.
3. Check your car seat before holiday travel. A large percentage of car seats are not used or installed correctly, so check it before you hit the road.
4. Safety in the car goes beyond your little ones. Kids who have outgrown a forward-facing harness seat are not ready for a seat belt or front seat yet. They are safest in a booster seat that enables the adult seat belt to fit properly. Even when children have graduated from booster seats, they should remain in the back seat until they reach the age of 13.

Expect the Unexpected on the Road

1. You never know when you have to stop abruptly, so keep hot foods, large gifts and anything that can become a projectile in the trunk.
2. If you are headed to a party and plan to drink alcohol, designate a driver or use a car service to make sure you get home safely.

For more information and resources about protecting kids on the road, at home and at play, visit SafeKids.org.

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