Sign Up For Our Newsletter
If you’ve ever had a child, you know car seats are confusing. There are many different types, the requirements constantly change as your child ages, and the rules definitely seem different from when you were a kid. Plus, it can feel like you need an engineering degree to install the seat properly.
November is Child Safety and Protection Month, so I want to take a moment to talk about car safety for kids. In 2019, 608 children under age 12 died in car crashes, and 38% of them were not buckled in. Almost as bad, about 46% of child restraint devices are misused in ways that can interfere with their effectiveness.
Your child is the most precious thing in your life, and I know all too well that a car accident can be devastating to anyone of any age. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your kid safe.
Rear-Facing Car Seats
From the first time a newborn gets into a vehicle, they should use a rear-facing car seat. Designed for very small children, when properly used, this seat is the gold standard in safety. Rear-facing seats, like all child restraining devices, should only be used in the back seats of your vehicle. The child should remain in the rear-facing seat until they’ve reached the maximum weight and height limits listed by the manufacturer. This transition usually takes place between 2–4 years of age.
Forward-Facing Car Seats
Once your child has outgrown their rear-facing car seat, they should graduate to a forward-facing car seat. As with the rear-facing seat, your child should use this seat until they’ve reached the maximum weight or height limits. This seat should be used for most children until at least age 5.
Booster seats are the final restraint device your child will need as they grow. A booster seat allows the seat belt to fit the child’s body properly; improperly fitted seat belts on children can cause serious injury to them in the event of an accident. The lap belt should sit across the upper thighs (not the stomach), and the shoulder belt should sit across the center of the shoulder and chest (not the neck, face, or arm). Your child should continue using a booster seat until their seat belt fits properly without one, usually between the ages 9–12.
Just because the seat belt fits your child properly doesn’t mean they’re ready to sit in the passenger seat. Children should continue to sit in the back seat until they reach at least age 12. In the event of a crash, the backseat is better protected than the front. Additionally, an activated airbag can cause injury or even death to your child. Front seats are tested for safety on adults, and your child shouldn’t ride in front until they’re about as large as one.
Installation errors are common and easy to make, so once you’ve set up your car seat, you should confirm you did so properly. The Marietta Fire Department does free car seat checks, and you can find more information at MariettaGA.gov/775/Car-Seat-Installation. Safe Kids Cobb County offers the same service, and you can book your appointment at SafeKidsCobbCounty.org/car-seat-check.
Don’t delay — no one expects or knows when they’re going to experience an accident. Make sure your child is safe today and for many tomorrows.
GA Injury Advocates
Latest posts by GA Injury Advocates (see all)
- You Don’t Need To Have A Social Security Number To Claim Workers Comp - December 8, 2022