Child Passenger Safety
Child Passenger Safety Week is September 18 – 24, 2011. This year’s theme is “Back to 2!” It was chosen to reinforce the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recent recommendation to keep toddlers in rear-facing seats until the age of 2 (or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their car seat).
Correctly buckling a child in a safety seat, booster seat or seat belt is the single most effective way to protect them from a crash. Here are some simple tips to keep your child safe and secure in a moving vehicle:
- Keep your child in a back seat until the age of 13.
- Use child safety seats and seat belts according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Use the best safety restraint for your child’s size. Take into account a child’s age, weight, height, physical development and behavior needs when selecting a seat. The AAP recommendations for child safety seats are a good way to help determine which type of safety seat is best for your child.
- All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat (CSS) until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the maximum weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their CSS. Never place a rear-facing CSS in the front seat with an active passenger side air bag. Children younger than 1-year-old should always ride in a rear-facing car seat.
- When children outgrow the rear-facing CSS, secure them in a forward-facing CSS with a harness for as long as possible, up to the maximum weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of the car seat.
- Once children outgrow their forward-facing CSS, secure them in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle lap and shoulder belt fits properly, typically when the child is approximately 4 feet 9 inches in height and between 8 and 12 years of age.
- When children outgrow their belt-positioning booster seat, secure them in a properly fitted lap and shoulder belt. A lap and shoulder belt fits properly when the lap belt lays low and snug across the hips/upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the center of the chest and shoulder.
The laws are clear when it comes to child passenger safety. Children:
- AGES BIRTH – AGE 4 must be restrained in an approved child safety seat.
- AGES 4 - 8 must be restrained in a seat belt system and an appropriately fitting child booster seat.
- AGES 8 to 18 must be restrained in seat belts.
For more information on selecting a car seat, finding a car seat fitting station, car seat recall information or car seat loan programs, visit www.PAKidsTravelSafe.org
or call 1-800-CAR-BELT.