Child Safety Seat
Using a child safety seat correctly makes a big difference. It may
not protect your child in a crash if it isn't used correctly and
installed properly in your vehicle.
All Children age 12 and under should ride properly restrained in the
back seat. Always take a minute to check to be sure that the seat is
correctly installed prior to driving with your child in the car.
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Do You Have The Instructions?
Always read the child seat use and installation instruction manual.
Also, read your vehicle owner manual seat belt and child seat
Does Your Child Ride in the Correct Safety Seat?
Just placing your child in a child safety seat does not
guarantee that he or she will be safe. Your child can be injured or
killed if you improperly use his or her child safety seat.
The following are the proper guidelines to follow:
from birth to about age one and at least 20 pounds Infants, from birth
to about age 1 and at least 20 pounds should ride in a rear facing
child safety seats, in the back seat - never in the front seat where a
front mounted passenger air bag is present.
straps should be at or below the infantís shoulders, and the straps
should be snug. When snug only one adult finger should fit between the
child's chest and the harness and the straps should lie in a relatively
straight line without sagging.
Place the harness retainer clip at armpit level. This helps to keep the harness straps positioned properly.
who weigh 20 lbs. or more before 1 year old should ride in a child
safety seat rated for heavier infants. Some convertible seats are rated
up to about 30 pounds rear facing.
Children one year and over 20 pounds
one year and over 20 pounds may ride forward facing in the back seat.
Children should ride in a child safety seat with full harness until
they are 40 pounds.
Harness straps should be at or above the child's shoulders.
This means that the harness straps should be threaded through the top
slots of the child seat in most cases. The harness should be snug so
that only one adult finger can fit between the child's chest and the
harness and straps should lie in a relatively straight line without
Harness retainer clips, when provided, should be at armpit
level. This helps to keep the harness straps positioned properly on the
Booster Safety Seat
staggering 80-90% of all children in the U.S. who should be restrained
in a booster seat are not. Children who have outgrown their child
safety seat, but who are still under 4'9", are safer sitting in a
booster seat, rather than immediately transitioning to an adult safety
Breadth of Problem
90% of kids who should be using a booster seat are not currently using a booster seat.
Children who have outgrown their child car seat, but who are still under 4'9", should be restrained in a booster seat.
is a massive information gap with parents about booster seats. Parents
lack information about what a booster seat is, how booster seats work,
and the safety benefits of booster seats.
there are no consistent laws, standards, or persistent news presence on
the importance of using a booster seat. While the majority of parents
have heard of them, a minority actually use them. (Which is in sharp
contrast to car seats.)
are unaware of the dangers of making this transition from car seat to
safety belt too early and would be horrified to know they are putting
their child at risk.
When children reach the top weight or height for their
child safety seat, their shoulders are above the harness slots or their
ears have reached the top of the safety seat. Then itís time for a
booster seat, which raises your child up so that the vehicleís
lap/shoulder belt fits correctly.
Children between 40 -80 pounds
between 40 and 80 pounds should ride in a belt-positioning child safety
booster seat, using the adult lap and shoulder belt. The seat should be
placed in the back seat. Booster seats should be used until the adult
lap and shoulder belt fits them properly.
Boosters are just
that - they "boost a child up" providing a taller sitting height so the
adult lap and shoulder belt fit. Most children will not fit the adult
lap and shoulder belt alone until they can sit with their back against
the vehicle seat back cushion with their knees bent over the seat
cushion edge with feet on the floor.
Boosters should be used as "in between" safety devices for
children who have outgrown a convertible seat at 40 pounds. This is
because the lap and shoulder belt alone, because the adult lap and
shoulder belt typically do not fit a child this size.
Belt-positioning boosters can only be used with both the
lap and shoulder belt across the child. The shoulder belt should be
snug against the child's chest, resting across the collar bone and the
lap belt should lay low across the child's lap/upper thigh area - never
across the stomach.
If only a lap belt is available in the rear seating
positions, an option may be to contact the vehicle dealer to see if
retrofit shoulder belts can be installed. Another option may be to
install products that can be used with a lap belt only such as a
specialty-made harness or vest. For information on child safety seats,
contact the Auto Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236 for additional
with harness systems, and high-backs are fairly new child safety seats
that are used in conjunction with the harness. These seats are
typically recommended for use by children who weigh between 30 and 40
After 40 pounds, the harness should be removed, converting
to a belt-positioning booster that can be used up to 60-80 pounds.
Belt-positioning boosters are recommended for children who are not yet
physically mature enough to properly fit an adult lap and shoulder belt.
Click here for more information on child safety seats