Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 17-24: Is your child in the right seat? Is it installed correctly? Don’t think you know—know you know.

Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 17-24: Is your child in the right seat? Is it installed correctly? Don’t think you know—know you know. 

Protecting a child is among the most serious responsibilities of a parent.  National Child Passenger Safety Week, September 17 - 24th, is planned to bring attention to the best safety practices for child passengers in automobiles.  Car wrecks are the leading cause of death for children aged 1 to 13.  There are many types of child safety seats, and it is important to use the proper manner of restraint for the child’s age and size. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering the manner in which you secure your most precious cargo:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics both encourage seating infants and toddlers in rear-facing car seats until two years of age, or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the car safety seat’s manufacturer.  

Once your child has outgrown the rear-facing seat, it’s time to turn them around. A front facing seat with a harness is the next seat to use. Front facing seats should be used until at least age 5, and until your child has reached the upper weight or height allowed by the safety seat’s manufacturer.

From this point, a child should use a booster seat until such time as seat belts fit the child properly.  Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). 

Remember that all car safety seats should be secured in the back seat of your vehicle. Children under the age of 13 should never ride in the front of an automobile. Airbags are powerful and can harm, or even kill young children riding in the front.

According to the Center for Disease Control, car safety seats reduce the risk of death in car crashes of infants by 71% and by 54% for those aged 1 – 4.  In 2015, restraint use saved the lives of 266 children under the age of 4.  These statistics show just how important it is to follow the guidance provided.

Many people do not realize that car seats should be replaced if they are involved in a significant automobile collision. The NHTSA recommends replacing car seats that are involved in a moderate to severe crash. If you are in a wreck, insurance should compensate you for the replacement value of affected car safety seats.

None of this matters unless you properly use your car seat every time.   Car seats today are easy to install and transfer between vehicles.  They are simple to snap and strap your child to safety.  There is no reason to risk your child’s health or life by ignoring this great advancement in safety. Make sure you, and the ones you love, keep up with the government recommendations and follow them. It could save your child’s life. 

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