National Child Passenger Safety Week
Car accidents are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years of age. However, many serious injuries and fatalities can be prevented by simply using car seats, boosters and seat belts. National Child Passenger Safety week is held one week in September every year to help generate awareness about child car safety.
Did you know:
- of those children ages 13 and under who were killed in car crashes in 2015, 35% were not buckled up in car seats, booster seats or seat belts?
- children should ride in a vehicle back seat until they are at least 13 years old?
Child Passenger Safety Tips
- Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size.
- Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system.
- To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible (and as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements).
- Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 13.
- Never let a child put the shoulder belt of an adult seat belt under an arm or behind the back because it could cause severe injuries in a crash.
NHTSA Car Seat Recommendations
For children birth to 12 months
- Children under the age of one should always ride in a rear-facing car seat.
For children 1 to 3 years
- Children should remain in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible, ideally until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer.
- Once a child outgrows the rear-facing seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward facing seat with a harness.
For children 4 to 7 years
- Keep children in a forward facing seat with a harness until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer.
- Once a child outgrows the forward facing seat with a harness, it’s time to move to a booster seat; however, it should still remain in the back seat.
For children 8 to 12 years
- Keep children in a booster seat until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly.
- Children should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there
Resources for You
When is a child ready for an adult seat belt?
Generally, somewhere between the ages of 8 to 12 children will transition from a booster seat to using an adult seat belt. The best practice is to keep them in booster seats until they outgrow the size limits or are big enough to fit properly in seat belts.
For your child to properly fit in an adult seat belt, he or she should:
- Be tall enough to sit without slouching
- Be able to keep his or her back against the vehicle seat
- Be able to keep his or her knees naturally bent over the edge of the vehicle seat, and
- Be able to keep his or her feet flat on the floor
Check to make sure there is a proper fit with the seat belt — always check the fit in each car, too.
- The lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach.
- The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.
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