Child car seat safety tips that you need to know:
- The legal requirements for car seats.
- What type of seat is appropriate for your child’s age and weight?
- Where should your child sit in the car?
- No winter coats.
Child car seat safety can be a matter of life and death. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for young children. Young children who are properly positioned and secured in a seat suitable for their height and weight have a considerably greater chance of surviving a car crash.
The CDC reports that the use of child car seats in passenger vehicles reduces the risk of death or injury to children 3 years of age or younger by 71-82%, and booster seats reduce the risk of serious injury to children between the ages of 4 and 8 by 45%.
Car Seat Safety Tips for Infants
The best child car seat safety tips for infants are to keep kids 3 years of age or younger in rear-facing seats for as long as possible. Only once they have outgrown the seat manufacturer’s maximum weight and height limits should a child be moved to a forward-facing seat.
Forward-Facing Child Car Seat Safety Tips
To maximize safety, kids should use a forward-facing seat that is equipped with a harness and tether until they reach the height and weight maximum limits set by the manufacturer, which may occur around 7 years of age.
Once a kid has outgrown their forward-facing seat, child car seat safety best practices require that the kid use a belt-positioning booster seat until he or she is tall enough to safely use a vehicle’s manufacturer-installed lap/shoulder seat belts.
Child Car Seat Safety Tips for Seat Belts
Child car seat safety best practices permit children to graduate to wearing seat belts once they have outgrown boosters, which typically occurs when the child reaches 4’9” and/or is 8 years of age or older. Like adults, children should use both lap and shoulder belts to ensure the most reliable protection. It is important to remember that for a seat belt to fit properly and provide the protection it is designed to provide, the lap belt must fit snugly on a child’s upper thighs and the shoulder belt should fit across the shoulder.
Having Kids Ride in The Rear Seat
Child car seat safety experts agree that young kids should ride in the rear seats of vehicles until they reach the age of 13, because the force of front-seat air bags is particularly dangerous for kids under the age of 13.
Remove Children’s Winter Coats
Experts recommend that kids should not wear their winter coats while secured in their car seats because it can leave the harness too loose to protect children in the event of a car crash. The seat’s harness should fit tightly to the child’s body, approximately at the armpit level. To keep children both safe and warm, you can drape a blanket and/or a child’s winter coat over the top of the child once he or she has been safely secured in his or her seat and the harness has been securely fastened. If you or your child have been injured in a car crash and you have questions about your legal rights, you can call for a consultation with one of our experienced motor vehicle accident attorneys.