Did you know that car crashes are the number one killer of children under 12 in the United States? That’s a pretty scary statistic.
This week is National Child Passenger Safety Week, and we want to encourage parents everywhere to make sure their little ones are safe.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “The best way to protect them in the car is to put them in the right seat, at the right time, and use it the right way.”
But with so many car seat options, it can be confusing to know exactly what that menas. So here are a few tips for making sure your little one is buckled in safely, courtesy SaferCar.gov:
Birth – 12 Months
For the first year of your baby’s life, he should always be in a rear facing car seat in the back seat. This is the safest position for a small child, and you should continue buckling them in this way until your child outgrows the rear-facing seat (usually around 30-35 pounds.)
1 to 3 Years
Once your child reaches the max height and weight limits allowed by the manufacturer, it’s time to switch to a front-facing car seat with a harness. He or she should always ride in the backseat buckled safely into the seat.
4 to 7 Years
When they get big enough to graduate from the forward-facing car seat (usually 40-65 pounds), it’s time to move on to the booster seat. Because seat belts are made for adults, they often hit small children across the throat and tummy, instead of the chest and upper thighs, without a booster seat. Until they are tall enough, then, they ought to sit in a booster seat in the back seat.
8 to 12 Years
Kids should stay in booster seats until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly – which means 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.
Once they are tall enough to sit without a booster seat, remember that the safest place for your child is the backseat. In most cars, unless they weigh more than 100 lbs, they will not trigger the airbag in the front passenger seat. Even then, consider where the airbag would strike them in an accident. If they are not tall enough for the air bag to help, keep them in the back.
Are you using the “Right Seat?”