Posted on 09/21/2011, by Jeremy Edsall
Car Seat and Booster Safety for Your Kids
According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children younger than 15 in the United States. Child safety seats, when installed and used correctly, can prevent injuries and save lives. In fact, young children who are properly restrained in car seats and booster seats have an 80 percent lower risk of suffering from a fatal injury compared to those who are unrestrained.
Child Safety Seat Usage
Child safety seats are not just a good idea, they’re the law. All 50 states and the District of Columbia requiresome form of special restraint to be used for young children. While regulations may be more lenient in your area, the following guidelines are based on the strictest of states laws and will provide the best protection for your child.
Infants (Birth to 1 year and/or less than 20 pounds):
- Use a rear-facing, infant-only seat. Seat 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 air bag 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.