infant, preschooler, safety, toddler

BUCKLE UP! The right seat at the right time.

Did you know vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1-13 years of age? Many injuries and deaths due to auto crashes can be prevented when passengers are properly restrained. Almost 60% of car seats and 20% of booster seats are used incorrectly. Children should be restrained in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt that is appropriate for their age, their height, and their weight.

Birth up to at least age 2 years: Rear-facing car seat

CarSeat_Convertible_Seat_Rearfacing_tot“But I can’t see my baby when they are rear facing.” This is a commonly voiced concern regarding the recommendation to place the youngest child in a rear-facing car seat. It can be life-saving to place the youngest children in a rear-facing car seat as it reduces the stress on their neck and spinal cord in a crash. This type of car seat should be used from birth until they are at least 2 years of age or until they reach the upper weight or height limits for their specific car seat. Types of car seats include infant car seats, convertible car seats (rear-facing + forward-facing with a harness and tether), and all-in-one seats (rear-facing + forward-facing with harness and tether + booster).

Age 2 years up to at least age 5 years: Forward-facing car seat

Graco-Extend2Fit-3-in-1-Car-Seat-forward-facing-with-4-year-oldOlder toddlers, preschool age, and small school age children often don’t want to be restrained. They may resist being strapped into a car seat or repeatedly undo the latch. Despite their efforts they need to be buckled into a forward-facing car seat with a harness to limit forward movement during a crash. Forward-facing car seats should be used until your child is at least 5 years of age or until they reach the upper weight or height limit of their specific car seat. Types of car seats include convertible car seats, combination car seats (forward-facing with harness and tether + booster), and all-in-one seats.

Age 5 years up until seat belts fit properly: Booster seat

booster with kidChildren this age often feel like they no longer need to be in a car seat, especially when they see that other kids aren’t. But they should be restrained in a belt-positioning booster seat. This allows the seat belt to lay across the upper thighs. If the seat belt is improperly positioned across the stomach, abdominal injury may occur during a crash. Types of booster seats include high back boosters, backless boosters, combination seats, and all-in-one seats.

Once seat belts fit properly without a booster seat: Seat belt

Children no longer need to use a booster once the seat belt fits them 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).

More car safety tips …

Make sure car and booster seats are installed and used correctly. Follow the directions in the owner’s manual. A certified Child Passenger Safety Technician can insure proper use.

Watch this video to ensure you have put your car seats in properly!

Make sure restraints are used EVERY trip, NO MATTER HOW SHORT.

Children aged 12 years and younger should be restrained in the back seat.

The safest place in the car is the middle of the back seat.

Do NOT seat children in front of an air bag.

Parents and other adults should set a good example by wearing their seat belts.

Additional car safety information is available at:


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