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How to keep your kids safe when a babysitter is behind the wheel

As new parents learn soon after their first child is born, you cannot control whether or not your children remain safe every moment of the day. Even parents with the best of intentions often find themselves in situations in which their children have become injured. Whether the injuries result from the kids' game of ninja in the backyard or from a defective product, parents can only do the best they can to keep children safe and hope that they have done enough.

When it comes to preventing injury resulting from car accidents, parents can avoid distraction, fatigue and aggressive behaviors behind the wheel. They can ensure that their children are properly restrained and they can purchase a safe vehicle model. But what can parents do to help their children avoid injury when a babysitter is driving them around town? Even though parents cannot completely guarantee that babysitters will drive safely, they can do their homework and set ground rules for travel.

Even if you do not anticipate that your babysitter will be driving your children anywhere, it is important to make sure that he or she has a valid driver's license and a strong driving record. If an emergency arises, your babysitter may have to drive your children to a healthcare facility or another family member's home. As a result, it is critical that all babysitters are licensed to drive or that you have a backup plan for which neighbor will drive the kids to the hospital in an emergency.

Once you look at your babysitter's driving record, make sure that it is either free or virtually free of any recent distraction-related, speed-related or intoxication-related infractions. A responsible driver is far more likely to keep your children safe than an irresponsible one. In addition, if the babysitter is going to drive your children in his or her car, have the car checked out by your mechanic to make sure that it is safe.

Parents cannot control every situation in life that may lead to harm when it comes to their children. But by being proactive, parents can keep their children as safe as possible when a babysitter is driving them around town.

Source: The Auto Channel, "How to Keep Children Safe When Babysitter is Driving," July 29, 2013

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