Do you have a child or grandchild under 13? Do they ride with you in your car? If yes, then this article is for you. I provide some useful information to help make sure you are using the right child car seat and installing it properly.
Did you know that the number one killer of children from ages 1 through 12 is car crashes? This week is Child Passenger Safety Week, a time to highlight the importance of having the right car seat for your child or grandchild. When used correctly, a child car seat is the best tool to keep our children safe on the road.
Choosing the Correct Seat is Critical
Choosing the right type of seat has been made very easy with a number of useful websites that lay out the factors to consider. One excellent website is www.safercar.gov. The Car Seats & Booster Basics page lays out the important considerations, such as age and size of your child, and what seat type best corresponds to those factors.
Just as important as choosing the right seat is making sure it is installed correctly. Did you know that 3 out of 4 car seats are not properly installed? To make sure you know what to do, check out The Right Fit – Car Seat Installation page at www.safercar.gov. This page provides crucial information on the best way to install a car seat.
Free Car Seat Check Events
To double-check your car seat’s installation, go to a Car Seat Check event. Car Seat Check events are free car seat inspections held across the country by certified technicians. During the inspection, the technician will teach you everything you need to know to ensure that the seat is properly installed and keep your child safe. Want to learn where the closest Car Seat Event will be? Go to www.SafeKids.org where all of the upcoming events are listed by coalitions and states. With September 21st as National Seat Check Saturday there will almost certainly be a number of events in your area. If not, you can still contact a technician directly and get assistance.
Make the Time
There is no better time than NOW to check and make sure that your child or grandchild is safe in your own car. Remember:
- For children under age 1, they should always ride in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat. It provides critical support to a child’s fragile neck and spinal cord in the event of a crash.
- For children ages 1-3, they should remain rear-facing as long as possible, and then once they outgrow the rear-facing seat, it is time to use a forward-facing car seat. It limits a child’s forward movement in a crash because of a harness and attached tether.
- For children ages 4-7, keep them in a forward-facing seat until they reach the height or weight limit, and they then can advance to a booster seat. A booster seat makes sure a seat belt is properly positioned over a child’s body.
- For children ages 8-12, keep them in a booster seat until the standard car seat belt fits properly. Even then, they should remain in the back seat and buckled up where it is safer.
Want to take a trip back in time?
Check out the video below with Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and choosing the right car seat.
 Check out Did you Know Video Public Service Announcement. To watch other PSAs or get the Campaign material on having a child in the right seat, go to: http://www.safercar.gov/parents/TRS/toolkit.htm
- Child Safety Seats: The Right One at the Right Time (trafficsafetyguy.com)