Riding Safe In The Car
Have you seen the Ultimate Car Seat Guide put out by Safe Kids Worldwide? It's a great new tool to help parents figure out what car seat to purchase, how to install it, how the child is supposed to fit in the seat, and when they should graduate to the next seat. Below are some safety tips to keep your child safe when riding in a vehicle.
Hard Facts About Safety In Cars
Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States.
Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent.
More than half of car seats are not used or installed correctly.
Tips About Car Seat Safety
Buying the right car seat. Your baby needs to ride in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible until 2 or more years. When your child has outgrown that seat, you are ready for a forward-facing car seat.
Installing your car seat. You’ll need to decide on using either the seat belt or lower anchors to secure your car seat. Both are safe, but don’t use them both at the same time. Once your child is forward facing, it is important to use the tether with the seat belt or lower anchors.
Getting the right fit. A properly-fitted harness gives the best possible protection for your child.
When to change your car seat. Look on the car seat label to make sure your child is still within the weight, height and age limits for that seat.
Children less than 4 years old or less than 40 pounds must be in an appropriate child safety seat.
Children ages 4 through 7 who weigh at least 40 pounds must be in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat unless they are over 80 pounds or taller than 4’9″ tall.
Children 8 and older or weighing at least 80 pounds or at least 4’9″ tall are required to be secured by a safety belt or buckled into an appropriate booster seat.
This law includes all cars, pickup trucks, and vans. Public carriers for hire are the only vehicles exempted.
The Child Restraint Law is a primary law. If an officer observes a child in a vehicle that is not properly restrained, the officer can stop the vehicle solely for that reason.
Bundle Up For Safety
Winter brings cold weather and potentially slick roads, but families still need to travel every day. We bundle up our children to help them brave the elements, but a bulky coat and a car seat can be a dangerous combination.
As a general rule, bulky clothing, including winter coats and snowsuits, should not be worn underneath the harness of a car seat. In a car crash, fluffy padding immediately flattens out from the force, leaving extra space under the harness. A child can then slip through the straps and be thrown from the seat.
If you find that the coat can't be safely worn under the harness, here are a couple things you can do:
- For smaller children, put a blanket over them to keep them warm.
- Only use aftermarket covers, essentially fitted blankets, designed to give additional warmth that are approved by the car-seat manufacturer for your specific car seat. Such covers have been tested with the seat and won't compromise your child's safety.
- For a bigger child, after securing him or her in the car seat, turn the coat around and put it on backward (with arms through the armholes), so the back of the coat serves as a blanket resting on top of the harness.