Car Seat Safety Tips
Car Seat Safety
Car seat safety is extremely important. I think we can all agree on that.
Traffic accidents are always tragic. When they involve babies or children, that tragedy is compounded exponentially.
Current statistics show car accidents are a leading cause of death, spinal cord injuries and brain damage in babies and small children. Sadly, these deaths and injuries might have been prevented with the proper use of a quality baby/child car safety seat. My hope is that these car seat safety tips will help you prevent injury or loss to your little ones.
Did you know . . . Police statistics state that a sudden stop at only 30 m.p.h. has same crushing force on your child’s brain and body as a fall from a three story building!!
Everyone in the car should be properly buckled up every time. NO EXCCEPTIONS! Most states have seat belt and infant/child car seat laws. As they say in Texas, "Click It Or Ticket!"
ALWAYS check with your local authorities regarding what the laws in your area mandate.
United States Only
PLEASE NOTE: this if general information in the United States only:
- Car Seat Safety #1 Generally, infants less than one year and less than 20 pounds must be placed in a rear facing car seat. Most infant carrier style car seats can only be used until 20 pounds.
- Car Seat Safety #2 In many states, children must ride in the back seat until they are at least 6 years old or weigh 60 pounds (with certain exceptions).
- Car Seat Safety #3 All rear facing car seats should be in a semi-reclining position at a 45-degree angle.
- Car Seat Safety #4 Once your child is over one year and exceeds the 20 pound limit, use a rear facing convertible car seat. Make sure it is rated to at least 30 pounds.
- Car Seat Safety #5 The back seat is always the safest place for your infant or child.
- Car Seat Safety #6 Children 12 years old and younger are safest in the backseat.
- Car Seat Safety #7 Make sure that the car seat is installed tightly. It should have no more than one inch of side-to-side movement.
- Car Seat Safety #8 A car seat with a 3 or 5 point harness is recommended by most safety experts. (5 point harness is considered the safest.)
- Car Seat Safety #9 Do not use infant carriers, travel beds, backpacks carriers, etc. in place of a car seat.
- Car Seat Safety #10 Purchasing a new car seat for your child is the safest option.
- Car Seat Safety #11 If using a "pre-owned" seat, be sure the instructions come with it. Try to verify it was not involved in an accident.
- Car Seat Safety #12 Harness straps should be snug. You should only be able to put one finger (at the collar bone) between your baby and the strap.
- Car Seat Safety #13 After adjusting the harness, check to make sure it is secure.
- Car Seat Safety #14 Sit your baby upright. His/her buttocks and back should be flat against the back of the seat.
- Car Seat Safety #15 Harness straps should come out of the slots that are at or below the level of the baby’s shoulders when facing rear.
- Car Seat Safety #16 Harness retainer clip should be secured at the level of the armpits.
- Car Seat Safety #17 Contact your child’s health care provider for information on the low cost car seat programs serving your area.
- Car Seat Safety #18 NEVER leave a child alone in a vehicle. Not even for a minute!! Heat stroke, kidnapping and car theft are not worth the risk!
- Car Seat Safety #19 Many states in the U.S. have criminal laws regarding leaving children alone in vehicles. Don't risk it!
Do's and Don'ts of Car Seat Safety
Car Seat Safety -- DO:
- Car Seat Safety #20 Review the owner’s manual of your car before installing the car seat.
- Car Seat Safety #21 Use the correct car seat for the age/height/weight of your child.
- Car Seat Safety #22 Read your vehicle owner’s manual to learn how the seat belts lock. You may need to use a locking clip.
- Car Seat Safety #23 A LATCH may help with installation problems (but only if both the car seat and the car have this new system).
- Car Seat Safety #24 Be sure to read all car seat installation directions and instructions.
- Car Seat Safety #25 Use a towel to cover the metal parts of the car seat during warm/hot weather.
- Car Seat Safety #26 Check out your state laws regarding car seat safety.
- Car Seat Safety #27 Secure your baby snugly with harness straps. Place the cover over the baby after securing him/her in the car seat, if extra warmth is needed.
- Car Seat Safety #28 Throw away any car seats involved in an accident. Even if there are no visible signs of damage, the shell may have been compromised.
- Car Seat Safety #29 While some states have laws against re-using seats that have been involved in an accident, it's not universal and there are, unfortunately, unscrupulous people who would disregard the law for monetary gain.
Car Seat Safety -- DON'T
- Car Seat Safety #30 Never hold your baby in your lap while riding in a car, even for a short distance.
- Car Seat Safety #31 Do not wrap your baby in blankets/heavy clothing or place extra padding in/under or around your baby before putting them in the car seat.
- Car Seat Safety #32 Never place an infant in the front seat with a passenger side airbag. If your vehicle allows, disable the passenger side airbag while your children are in the car.
- Car Seat Safety #33 Don't use a car seat older than 6-10 years.
Car Seat Safety -- Other Things to Consider
In most areas of the U.S., Police Departments, hospitals and health departments have courses on car seat safety. If you have trouble installing your car seat, contact the Manufacturer.
In some areas, the police and or fire department may be able to provide some assistance.
Make the effort and take as much time as necessary to be sure your baby/children are correctly and properly protected and restrained. It's a matter of life/death.
Cherish life and buckle up!
If you live in Texas, here is a handy link to the Texas Department of Public Safety information with regard to car seats.
Child Passenger Safety Information | Department of Public Safety (texas.gov)
*Note: The information on this page is for reference only and is not intended as legal advice. Laws and regulations for each state may have been updated since the publishing of this page. Consult an attorney for laws regarding your specific state. I am NOT an expert in any way.
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