Child Safety Seat Guidelines for Parents

Posted on by Defensive Driving Team | in Defensive Driving Tips

Baby car seatEveryone wants to protect their children, and at DefensiveDriving.com, we think it is especially important that you have the knowledge and the tools to keep them safe when they are passengers in your car.

The most important rule to remember is that any child under the age of 13, no matter their weight or height, should always sit in the back seat of the car. In the event of a collision, the front seat air bags can prove dangerous and even fatal to small children.

Choosing the appropriate car seat or child restraint system is also important and can even be lifesaving. According to recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, car accidents are the leading killer for children between the ages of 3 to 14.

The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends the following guidelines for a graduated car seat system to maximize the safety of your child.

Infants and Toddlers (0-2 years):
If your children fall within this youngest age group, they should be riding in a rear facing car seat at all times. Be sure to compare different manufacturer brands and ensure your child falls within the appropriate height and weight measurements for your model. Oftentimes, these seats are adjustable and can transition from a newborn car seat to a toddler seat; since this model should ideally be used at least until the child is 2 years of age.

Toddlers and Preschoolers (3-5 years):
Children that have outgrown their rear-facing car seats should be graduated to a forward facing car safety seat with a harness. This system should be used as long as the child does not exceed the maximum height or weight limitations.

School Aged Children (6-8 years):
This age group is too large for a standard car seat, but still to small to receive full and proper protection from the seatbelt alone, so you should use a belt positioning booster seat. This will help your child transition to using the vehicle seatbelts full time once he or she reaches at least 4 feet 9 inches height.

Once you have purchased a car seat, do not forget to register it with the manufacturer and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Once registered, you will be alerted if there are any recalls or product dangers with your particular make and model of car seat.

To learn more about driving safety, visit our Safe Driver Resources page.

~R. Quick

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