Car Seat Safety

Our children are our most valuable passengers, and require more care and precaution to ensure their safety. Unfortunately, 84% of child restraint systems are misused or installed incorrectly.

Suggestions for:

Children of all ages
•Children under the age of 13 should ride in the backseat.
•Your child’s weight, height, and age should be used to select your car seat.
•Refer to both your vehicle owner’s manual and the car seat manufacturer’s instructions when installing.
Register your child’s car seat with the manufacturer, and receive notification of defects and recalls.

Children age 1 and under
•Children under 12 months should ride in a car seat that is rear-facing.
-Infant-only: these car seats can only be installed as rear-facing.
-3-in-1: these car seats are convertible, and also tend to have higher weight and height requirements, allowing your child to be rear-facing for longer.

Children ages 1-3
•Children in this age range should stay in rear-facing car seats as long as they can. The American Academy of Pediatrics now suggests keeping toddlers in rear-facing seats until age 2.
•Once they outgrow the allowable limit, they are then ready for a forward-facing seat with a harness.

Children ages 4-7
•Children in this age range should stay in a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as they can.
•Once they outgrow the allowable limit, they are then ready for a booster seat.

Children ages 8-12
•Children in this age range should stay in a booster seat until they have grown enough to fit in a regular seat and seat belt properly.
•A properly fitted seat belt must fit closely across the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt should fit closely across the shoulder and chest.

For further information, see this Safe Kids USA checklist that covers each age range.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 3 out of 4 children are not as secure as they should be in their vehicles due to incorrectly installed car seats. Have a professional check yours to make sure you child is as safe as possible. There thousands of child car seat inspection stations across the country. To find one in your community, visit the NHTSA website. To view child restraint requirements by state, visit to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) website.

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