and child car seats save lives. By law, children must be buckled up in a car seat
that is made for their weight, height, and age. Check your state's laws at www.iihs.org/laws/default.aspx.
child who is not in a car seat can be seriously injured or killed during a crash or
an abrupt stop, even at low speeds. A parent's arms are not strong enough to hold
and protect a baby during a car accident. Many unrestrained children die because they
are torn from an adult's arms during a crash.
Set a good example for your children
by always wearing your own seat belt, and always insist that they buckle up.
Requirements for car seats
Buy a car seat appropriate
for your child's current age, weight, and height. For safety, it is very important
to have a car seat that fits your child and faces the right direction. Be sure to
follow the car seat maker's recommendations. They should include weight and height
guidelines. They should also tell you how to install the seat and how to secure your
child in it.
The following guidelines come from the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA):
Ages 0 to 12 months
Your child younger
than age 1 should always ride in a car seat that faces the back of the car(called
rear-facing). There are different types of rear-facing car seats. Infant-only seats
can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher
height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child
rear-facing for a longer period of time.
Ages 1 to 3 years
Keep your child
rear-facing in a convertible or 3-in-1 car seat as long as possible. It's the best
way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain rear-facing until he or she
reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's maker. As soon as
your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a car seat that faces the front(called forward-facing)
and that has a harness.
Ages 4 to 7 years
Keep your child in a forward-facing
car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed
by your car seat's maker. As soon as your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat
with a harness, your child can travel in a booster seat but still in the back seat.
8 to 12 years
Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough
to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must
lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie
snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: Your
child should still ride in the back seat because it's safer there.
a used car seat. If a car seat has been recalled or has been in an accident or misused,
it may not fully protect your baby.
safest position for your baby or child is in the back, middle seat of the car.
not place your child's car seat in the front seat of any vehicle with a passenger
side air bag that cannot be turned off.
Do not allow a child younger
than age 13 to sit in the front seat of any vehicle.
Make sure your infant's
car seat is at an angle where his or her head does not flop forward.
okay for your baby to fall asleep while traveling as long as the straps are in the
right position. Do not put your baby down to sleep in a car seat. It should only be
used for travel.
For maximum safety, follow the manufacturer's recommendations
for car seat use. Cars manufactured since September 2002 are equipped with a standardized
car safety seat attachment system. This feature allows parents to secure the car seat
on a permanently installed hook.
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians
can help you install your car seat and position your child safely. To find help in
your area, go to www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm or www.seatcheck.org.
You can also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 1-888-327-4236.
not let your child get out of his or her seat while the car is moving. If your child
needs attention, stop the car, take the child out of the seat, take care of his or
her needs, and put him or her back into the seat before the car starts moving again.
If your child is fussy again soon after, stop and check your child again.
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this