I know for me taking my kids in the car is always a little nerve wracking. My husband says I am crazy worried about their car seats being correct. I always tell him “better safe than sorry.” I thought I’d use this opportunity to educate myself a little more about car seat safety as well. I got in touch with the Injury Prevention Manager at our local children’s hospital and she shared some very helpful and useful information.
What You Should Know
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death to children. According to Safe Kids USA, an estimated 2,446 children ages 14 years and under die in motor vehicle crashes each year. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to reduce the risk of injury in a car crash — one of them is as easy as being a good example. Always use your seat belt.
Rear-facing Car Seat tips
Forward-facing Car Seat Tips
- Forward-facing car seats should be used once a child has reached the maximum weight or height limit of a rear-facing seat.
- Use a forward-facing carseat with a harness until the child reaches the height or weight limits specified by the seat’s manufacturer before transitioning into a booster seat.
- Read the car seat and vehicle owners’ manuals to ensure the seat is installed properly.
- Position harness straps so they are at or above the child’s shoulders.
- Some convertible seats require the use of top slots when the seat is forward-facing; be sure to read the car seat manual carefully.
- Make sure the harness straps are buckled, properly positioned, and snug.
- Make sure the chest clip is at armpit level.
- If installed properly, the car seat should not move more than one inch in any direction.
Booster Seat Tips
- Booster seats should be used for children once they have outgrown the forward-facing car seat.
- Use a belt positioning booster seat until the child reaches a height of 4 feet 9 inches and is between 8 and 12 years of age.
- Use a booster seat with the vehicle lap AND shoulder belt. Be sure the seat belt is properly buckled.
- Never place the shoulder belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back.
- Use a booster seat correctly in a back seat every time your child rides in a vehicle.
- Children should ride in the back seat away from airbags until they are 13 years old.
Thank you to Children’s Hospitals of Minnesota for this valuable information and for sharing it!
A great site we found when researching car seat safety is Safe Kids USA. On their site you can use the scroll bar to locate the laws and regulations specific to your state.
Did you learn anything you didn’t already know? Share with us.