Child Passenger Safety Week - What Seat Should Your Child Be Riding In?
Many children are not riding in the proper safety seat while in the car, while three out of four children are not as secure in the car as they should be as a result of parents and caregivers not using their car seats correctly. However, you can help educate parents, grandparents, teachers, and other caregivers by sharing this information with them in an effort to keep our kids safe during every ride. Remember: your child should stay in the safety seat he or she is using until he or she has outgrown the weight and height limitations decided upon by the manufacturer's your state legislature.
Rear-Facing Car Seat
Any child under the age of one should ALWAYS be buckled up in a rear-facing car seat. There are many options for a rear-facing car seat out there, from infant-only seats to convertable 3-in-1 car seats that can be used while your child grows. Rear-facing car seats are ideal for the smallest children because of its harness, and in the event of a crash, a rear-facing seat will cradle and move with your child in order to reduce the stress to the neck and spinal cord.
Forward-Facing Car Seat
You should keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. Once they have finally outgrown that, however, the next step should be to transition them to a forward-facing car seat. You should only transition to a forward-facing seat when your child reaches the height or weight limit determined by the manufacturer and your state government. Forward-facing car seats also have a harness, that serves to limit your child's forward movement in the event of a crash.
Booster seats should only be utilized once your child has outgrown the height and weight requirements determined by the forward-facing car seat manufacturer and your state's legislature. When your child is big enough, he or she may ride in a booster seat, but only in the back seat, never in the front. A booster seat will help keep your child safe by positioning the seat belt over the stronger parts of your child's body.
Your child should remain in a booster seat until he or she is able to fit in a seat belt properly. This means that the lap belt lies snugly across the upper thighs, never the stomach. The shoulder belt must lie snug across the shoulder and chest and should never cross the face or neck or be positioned behind your child.