Car Seat Safety Guidelines

Newborns to 2 years old

For this age group, there are 2 types of car seats.

  1. The infant seat, which may include a base
  2. The convertible seat

This age group must be in car seats facing the rear of the car until at least the age of two. Fact: children are 5 times safer in a rear-facing car seat.

Proper seating requires:

  1. The harness strap should be at or below your child’s shoulder.
  2. The retainer clip attached to the harness should be at the armpit level.
  3. Every strap must have a snug fit.
  4. The car seat needs to be buckled in tight. In fact, if you can move it from side to side or front to back, more than one inch, then consider it too loose.
  5. Make sure the seat belt or latch is going through the right belt path.
  6. Each rear facing car seat is built with an angle indicator. Make sure, the seat sits at a 30-45 degree angle.
  7. Your child should not exceed the manufacturer’s stated height and weight limit for the car seat.

Additional Guidelines:

  1. All car seats have an expiration date. They must be replaced six years after the manufacturer’s date.
  2. You should never use a car seat, if it has been involved in a moderate to severe crash.
  3. You should always read and follow your car seat instructions.
  4. You should not place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat with an activated air bag.

Car Seat Safety Guidelines for 2 to 7 Years Old

For this age group, there are 2 types of car seats.

  1. There are the convertible seats. They are called convertible seats because they can be rear-facing or front-facing seats. They become front facing after the child reaches the highest height/ weight allowed in the rear facing position.
  2. The combination seats. These seats always face the front of the car. They come with a harness strap which will keep your child safe and secure until they reach the required height and weight. At that point, the harness straps come off and the seat transitions to a booster seat which requires the use of the lap / shoulder seat belt.

Proper seating requires:

  1. The harness strap should be at or below your child’s shoulder and fit snugly.
  2. The retainer clip attached to the harness should be at the armpit level
  3. The car seat needs to be buckled in tight. In fact, if you can move it from side to side or front to back, more than one inch, then consider it too loose.
  4. Make sure the seat belt or latch is going through the right belt path.
  5. Each rear facing car seat is built with an angle indicator. Make sure, the seat sits at a 30-45 degree angle.
  6. Your child should not exceed the manufacturer’s stated height and weight limit for the car seat.

Additional Guidelines:

  1. All car seats have an expiration date. They must be replaced six years after the manufacturer’s date.
  2. You should never use a car seat, if it has been involved in a moderate to severe crash.
  3. You should always read and follow your car seat instructions.
  4. You should not place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat with an activated air bag.
  5. Praise your child when they buckle up properly.

Car Seat Safety Guidelines
8 to 12 Years Old

Transitioning from a booster seat to a lap / shoulder belt should occur once your child is taller than 4 feet 9 inches.

Checklist for lap / shoulder belt use:

  1. The lap belt needs to cross over the shoulder, chest and hip.
  2. Make sure the lap belt portion doesn’t cross over the stomach and the shoulder belt portion doesn’t rub the neck.
  3. Teach your child to sit back in the seat with knees bent over the edge of the seat and the feet touching the floorboard.
  4. Your child should be tall enough where the head is supported by the headrest.

Important rules to teach pre-teens / teens:

  1. The most important rule is to always wear a seat belt.
  2. Always ride with experienced drivers and never distract them.
  3. You should never ride with someone who drives unsafely, who has been drinking alcoholic beverages or is under the influence of drugs.
  4. Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  5. Do not use your cell phone to talk or text while driving.
  6. Children under the age of 12 should always ride in the back seat.
  7. Children under the age of 18 are cannot ride in the open bed of a truck or a trailer. For exceptions to this law, please look at your state’s Transportation Code.

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