Imagine you are new parents and involved in a traffic accident. Are you confident that your infant's car seat is safely installed and that your child is in the proper type of car seat for their size and age? For families throughout the community, these are real questions that need to be asked.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that while 96 percent of parents and caregivers believe their child safety seats are installed correctly, research has shown that 7 out of 10 children are improperly restrained. Most parents spend a lot of time picking out the pattern of the car seat to put on their baby registry, so why not take the time to make sure it's safe for your child?
Programs like car seat safety checks are a community resource that many parents aren't aware of, and help ensure that seats are safely and properly installed. It’s important to make sure that you select your child’s car seat based on their size and age.
Birth – 2 years: Rear-Facing Car Seat
Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years of age. This reduces the risk of spinal cord injuries. .
2-3 Years: Forward-Facing Car Seat w/ Harness & Tether
At two years of age, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. Your child must stay in a 5-point harness until at least 40 lbs and at least four years of age but in the 5-point harness until at least 40 lbs and 4 years of age.4-7 Years: Booster Seat
Continue to keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until they have reached the maximum weight and height based on the manufacturer’s guidelines. Once they outgrow the forward facing seat, it is time to move to a Booster Seat.
8-12 Years: Back Seat with Seatbelt
Keep your child in a booster seat until they are big enough to properly fit in a seat belt. This is usually at least 4 ft. 9in. and 60 lbs. The seat belt must fit snug across your child’s shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. It is important that your children still ride in the back seat at least until 12 years because it is safer there.
Most people think it's easy to simply click a car seat into a car. However, many technicians agree that most if not all car seats are installed incorrectly by consumers. When preparing for your baby, there are so many decisions to make and so many things to think about.
Once you purchase the correct seat for your child, bring your seat in for a safety check. Check with your local healthcare provider to see if they offer car seat safety checks.