Car Seats and Boosters. How to Keep Your Children Safe in Your Car.
Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury and death for children under 12 years? In 2016, more than 128,000 children were injured, and 723 died in the United States. Using a car seat reduces the risk for injury in a crash by and incredible 71-82% for children. Booster seats reduces the risk for serious injury by 45% when compared with using seat belts alone. Still, how long can you, or should you use car seats and boosters? Rear facing or front facing? Here are some reminders about car seat and boosters to help keep all your children safe.
Know What Safest
Two facts to keep in mind when choosing and using a car seat: rear facing and 5 point harness.
- Rear facing is by far the safest position. Even if your child has long legs and their knees are bent, and even if they reach the age minimum for forward facing ( usually 2 years, ) keeping them rear facing as long as possible will keep them safest longest. This crash test video says it all.
- 5 Point Harnesses are indeed safer. They keep your child from flying out of their seat and reduces the forces on their little bodies in an accident.
Know Your Car Seat Law
In North Carolina, every driver is responsible for all children under 16 years old riding in their car. These children must use a car seat or booster until they are 8 years old, 80 pounds, or are taller than 4 feet 9 inches. All children under 5 should ride in the back seat if there is a back seat with seat belts. Penalties include fines and court fees over $200, and driver license points.
Know Your Car Seats and Boosters
Each car seat and booster have height and weight requirements and limits. It is important to follow these fully.
Install Car Seats and Boosters Correctly
Did you know three out of four car seats are installed incorrectly? In these cases, even if a child is in a safety seat, it might not actually protect them properly. Make sure your car seat and boosters are installed correctly. Your local fire department or EMS center usually have certified car seat technician, free of charge.
Booster seats can only be used with seatbelts that have shoulder and lap belts. Booster seats can not be used with only lap belts.
Buckle in Correctly
A car seat needs to be correctly strapped, having the strap come from at or below the child’s shoulder. The child must also be buckled in tightly, leaving only the width of one finger between the belt. Think snug as a hug! Lastly, the chest clip must be at the armpit level. Any higher you cut off their neck, any lower may injury their bellies and internal organs in a crash.