Car seat safety is the key to keeping your child safe in the case of an accident. If the seat is not properly installed, it may not protect your child the way it is supposed to in the event of an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3 out of every 4 car seats are used incorrectly. That’s a shocking number of potential child injuries because of incorrectly installed child seats. We have a few car seat safety guidelines to follow for the best protection for your child.
Infants (Birth to 1 year and/or less than 20 pounds):
- Use a rear-facing, infant-only seat. Seats should be secured to the vehicle by the seat belt or by using the LATCH system (strap system required on all child seats manufactured after Sept. 1, 2002).
Infants (Less than 1 year and 20 to 35 pounds):
- Use a convertible seat facing the rear of the vehicle.
- Seat should be secured using the LATCH system.
- Do not use this seat in the front of your vehicle where an airbag is present.
- Child seat should be reclined at a 45-degree angle.
- Harness straps should be at or below shoulder level.
Toddlers (1 to 4 years old and at least 20 to 40 pounds):
- Use a face-forward convertible seat, forward-facing only seat or high back booster/harness.
- Seat should be secured using the LATCH system or safety belts.
- Harness straps should fit at or above the child’s shoulders
- Child should be snug and the harness clip should be at armpit level.
Young Children (4 to at least 8 years old, unless the child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall):
- Use a belt-positioning booster or high back belt-positioning booster.
- Always use the lap and shoulder seat belt
- Use the booster in the back seat only.
- Belt should rest across the child’s chest and on his/her shoulder.
- Lap belt should rest across the lap or upper thigh area.
Once you have the proper seat chosen and installed it’s time to get it inspected, usually for free. To find the nearest car seat inspection station, go to www.safercar.gov/cpsApp/cps/index.htm
Having an auto accident is hard enough, but having an injured child can make things so much harder.
Image Source: Jonathan Brodsky Flickr.com