Is Your Child Safe In Their Car Seat?

Proper installation for a child under 2
Every day, two children under the age of 12 die in car crashes and 325 are injured.  A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine  found that car crashes are the leading cause of death in kids over age 3 in the U.S., yet many parents still don't know how to properly install car seats or know the age guidelines for booster seats.

Requiring that children travel in proper restraints reduces the risk of fatality and injury so much that each U.S. state and territory has adopted its own regulations on child safety seats.  Although most parents understand that babies must travel in child safety seats, varying state regulations can create some confusion.  According to AAA polling, only 39 percent of parents know the specific rules in their states.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which updated their child passenger safety guidelines in 2011:
  • Children should remain in child safety or booster seats until they are at least 4’9”, the minimum height for using standard seat belts
  • Rear-facing car safety seat (CSS) for kids until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their CSS.
  • All kids 2 years or older, or those younger than 2 years who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their CSS, should use a forward-facing CSS with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their CSS.
  • Back seat riding with seat belt until age 13
Don’t forget to check the expiration dates on the child safety seats you’re using, too.  Exposure to sun, cold, and heat, as well as general wear and tear, degrade the plastic and foam in the seats, so they begin to lose their effectiveness.