September 17-23 is National Child Passenger Safety Seat. Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. Many deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters and seat belts. Making sure you child is in the right seat, and that the seat is properly installed can prevent death and injuries.
The following information is drawn from recent research conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and from data it compiles and maintains.
Moved to Next Car Seat Prematurely
- In 2015, about 25.8 percent of children 4 to 7 years old were prematurely moved to seat belts, and 11.6 percent were unbuckled.
Common Examples of Misuse Increasing the Risk of Injury to Child Passenger
- Rear-Facing Car Seat
- Incorrect amount of recline in child’s car seat: Child is less than a year old and the car seat is not installed at the correct angle for the rear-facing position.
- Forward-Facing Car Seat
- Loose car seat installation: Car seat can be moved front to back or side to side by more than one inch when pushed or pulled at the belt path.
- Booster Seat
- Improper lap belt position: Lap belt is placed across the child’s abdomen/ribcage, instead of across the hips or upper thighs.
NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing-only “infant” car seat, he/she should travel in a rear-facing “convertible” or all-in-one car seat. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing size limits, the child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat with harness, the child should ride in a booster seat until he/she is the right size to use a seat belt safely.
Always remember to register your car seat and booster seat with the car seat manufacturer so you can be notified in the event of a recall. Parents and caregivers can view more information on car seat safety and locate a certified child passenger safety technician at www.nhtsa.gov/carseat.