Car Seat Safety – April 2023 Trauma Talk
Use with infants until they reach the maximum weight or height allowed by the car seat’s label.
When an infant is not properly restrained in a rear-facing car seat, they are at increased risk for head and spinal injuries due to their large heads and still-developing spines. Rear-facing infant car seats have been shown to reduce serious injuries by 92%.
Learn about your car seat! Until the child reaches the seat’s height or weight limit, they should ride in the back seat. Rear-facing travel in most convertible seats is legal for 2 or more years.
- Seats in cars that face forward
- When a child has outgrown the need for a rear-facing seat.
- Keep facing forward while secured in a 5-point harness. In a forward-facing car seat, the straps should enter the child’s body at shoulder height.
Being properly fitted is crucial! When the child is properly secured in the harness, you should not be able to pinch the strap between your fingers. The correct placement of the chest clip on a child’s harness is above the child’s armpits. The proper installation and use of a car seat can be compromised by bulky outerwear, such as a winter coat.
When children are old enough to sit with their backs against the seat, knees bent at the edge of the seat, and feet flat on the floor, they can switch to a rear-facing seat.
It’s important that the lap and shoulder belt of your car rest high on your thighs or low on your hips. The strap of your shoulder belt should lay flat across your chest. A child is not ready for a booster seat if they cannot sit securely in the seat even when the harness is removed.
Always fasten your seatbelt! Children tend to act like their parents. To instill the right behavior from the get-go, make sure everyone in the car always uses their seatbelts.
Extra Material Of Note:
- After an accident, you should always replace a car seat.
- Tired old car seats! Verify the use-by dates on the packaging.
- Children under the age of 13 should always use lap and shoulder seat belts when traveling in vehicles.
When should I move my kid up to the next car seat? Guidelines for Parents:
- You worry about your child’s well-being constantly as a parent. But it’s not always easy to tell if your child’s car seat is the right size or has been installed correctly.
- The state of California mandates a few basic safety requirements for car seats. However, it does not provide a timetable for when children should move on to the next level of development.
- It is the law that minors must travel in the rear of the vehicle. They need to use the appropriate car seat or booster seat until they reach the age of 8 or are 4 feet 9 inches tall, whichever comes first. Unless the child is at least 40 pounds or 40 inches tall, children under the age of 2 are required to sit with their backs to the front of the vehicle.
- The California Highway Patrol is a great resource for learning more about child safety seats (CHP)
Due to differences in their rates of development, even children of the same age may require different sizes of car seats. The appropriate time to upgrade infant car seats may become a source of confusion for parents and carers as a result of this.
Here are some pointers to help you make sure your kid is safe at every age:
Take Your Time Finding A Seat In The Car:
We make a big deal out of it when our kids accomplish something significant, like learning to walk or talk. There is no reason to celebrate when it comes to infant car seats and boosters. Infants are more vulnerable than adults in cars and require extra safety measures. With each new level, security is compromised slightly. Keep using the existing car seat until the child reaches the maximum height or weight allowed by the manufacturer.
Ensure That Your Child’s Car Seat Is Installed Correctly By Following The Guidelines:
Until they reach the age of 2, children in California must ride with their backs to the front of the vehicle. When they reach that age, they can still use a rear-facing car seat until they outgrow it in height or weight. Sticker labels should be placed on the side of the seat to indicate maximum height and weight. You may need to upgrade your child’s car seat from a carrier and base system to a rear-facing convertible seat as they get bigger. These are designed to be used solely in a car and can accommodate children up to 40 pounds. Check out this video to learn when to switch your child to a forward-facing car seat.
Changing To A Front-Facing Seat In The Car:
Convertible seats can be used rear-facing until a child reaches the maximum height or weight, at which point they must be switched to the forward-facing position. An alternative is a car seat that can only be used facing forward and has a five-point harness and a top tether. A forward-facing car seat with a harness and a higher weight or height limit may be necessary for your child before you can switch to a booster seat.
Expanding Children Require Booster Seats:
Use a belt-positioning booster seat with the vehicle’s lap and shoulder seat belt once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat for either height or weight. Booster seats guarantee that the seat belt will cross your child at the ideal location, maximizing their protection.
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