Posted in blog on October 6, 2021
When children ride as passengers in a vehicle it is important to make sure they are as safe as possible. Often, injuries can be prevented through proper use of child safety seats and seatbelts. Choosing the right seat can be tricky.
- Rear-Facing Car Seats: Children under the age of one (1) should ride in a rear facing car seat, in the middle of the back seat. 3-in-1 convertible car seats typically have higher height and weight limits to accommodate the rear facing position for up to 3 years of age. Choose a seat that has good safety ratings and fits your car properly. Ask the retailer if you can do a test installation before you purchase your seat. NHTSA Highlights Importance of Car Seats and Child Passenger Safety | NHTSA
- Forward-Facing Car Seats: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends keeping your child rear facing in the back seat until at least 3 years of age. A 5-point harness with tether is the safest option once your child is ready for a forward-facing seat. Make sure you read the installation instructions carefully on your new car seat. Installing the seat properly is especially important for your child’s safety. Be sure that the shoulder straps are at or above the child’s shoulders and are snug. You should not have any slack when testing the harness straps over your child’s shoulders. The retainer clip should be at the center of your child’s chest, even with their armpits. Please refer to your car’s owner manual for the designated area of the tether. Car seats can be challenging, so if you still need help or want to ensure that your child’s seat is installed properly visit safercar-app and search for a safety technician in your area. NHTSA recommends your child to remain in a 5-point harness seat until age 7 or have outgrown height and weight requirements of current seat.
- Booster Seat: Once your child has outgrown the height and weight requirements of their 5-point harness car seat your child is ready for a belt positioning booster seat. Your child will use a booster seat until they are 57 inches tall and 85 pounds, usually between the ages of 8-12. In addition to height and weight your child should be able to place their back firmly against the seat with their knees bent over the seat edge. Most backless boosters have a higher weight minimum. High back booster seats are for the transition from 5-point harness seat to backless booster seat. Hybrid booster seats where the extended back detaches are readily available at most retail locations.
- Seat Belts: Traditional seat belts do not fit children properly until they are 57 inches (4’9) tall and weigh between 80-100 pounds. Usually between the ages of 10-13 The seat belts lap belt must rest snuggly across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt should rest snuggly across the shoulder and chest area. All children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you are questioning whether it is time to let your child ride with a standard seat belt.
Every 33 seconds a child is involved in a car crash. That’s a scary statistic. Luckily there are resources available to help you protect your children at every stage and every age in your vehicle. For further information on proper car seat instillation visit https://ucsg.safekids.org/