Being a busy parent means mastering the art of compromise. One area you never want to compromise, though, is the safety of your children. The main thing is to take care of the basics so you can be confident your children will be protected in and around cars.
Specific Car Seat Safety Items to Review
- For an infant carrier, make sure the handle is down while the car is in motion.
- How to appropriately install the seat at the best angle
- Some seats have an indicator to help you identify the best angle.
- The best angle is usually between 45 and 30 degrees.
- The harness straps must be at or below shoulder level.
- The retainer clip should be at armpit level.
- the child should fit snugly in the seat when buckled in.
- If the child needs added support, tuck in small, rolled-up towels on each side. Do not place them under the belts or the infant’s head.
- The harness should rest flat. Once you tighten the harness, if you can pinch the straps at the shoulder, it’s not fastened correctly.
Types of Car Seats for Kids
Infants & Toddlers Rear-facing only, Rear-facing Convertible:
All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they are at least2 years of age or reach the highest weight or heigt allowed by their car seat manufacturer
Toddlers & Preschoolers Convertible, Forward-facing with harness:
Children who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their convertible seat should use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the heighest weight or heigt allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer.
School-Aged Children Booster Seats:
All children whose weight or height exceeds the forward-facing limit for their car safety seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 through 12 years of age. All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.
Older Children Seat Belts:
When children are old enough and large enough for the vehicle seat belt to fit them correctly, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for the best protection. All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat.
Child Seat Safety
Did you know…
Studies conducted in 2007, 2008, and 2009 found that only 3% of children between the ages of 1 and 3 who were restrained in a car seat were properly positioned?
About 73% of car child restrains aren’t used or installed correctly. In one year, more than 618,000 up to the age of 12 rode in cars with out sitting in a child/booster seat or using their seat belts at least some of the time.
Why is This Important?
Because using a restraint saved 303 children ages 4 and younger in 2010!
Even if you’ve researched car seats and chosen the best one, do you know how to safely transport your child in the car?
Proper installation is key.
It is important to place infant seats in the back seat and make sure they’re rear-facing and should be installed using either the seat belt or LATCH system.
Seat Belt – Check the vehicle owner’s manual to see if you need a locking clip to lock the belt in position. You mght have to extend the seat belt and let it retract to make sure it’s tight.
LATCH System – Most passenger cars manufactured since September 2002 come with the LATCH system. Anchors are in the back seat where cushions meet, and tether anchors are behind the seat. Use the attachments on your car seat to fasten the LATCH anchors. Check your vehicle owner’s manual to find weight limits for anchors and tethers.
It is important to ensure that the seat can’t be moved more than an inch from front-to-back or side-to side. Read your vehicle and car seat manuals for complete installation instructions.
Child Car Seat Rules Mostly Ignored, Study Finds
Child Passenger Safety Practices in the U.S.
Safe Kids Worldwide: Child Passenger Safety
Car Seats: Information for Families
Not At Fault? Here’s How The Insurance Claims Process Will Work
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: Keeping Children Safe In and Around Cars