In the United States the leading cause of death in children 1 to 13 years old is car crashes. Putting children in the right car seat, at the right time, and in the right way is the best way to protect them. There is a variety of different car seats to choose from, and finding the right one can sometimes be a challenge. The safest car seat is one that fits both your car and your child, and is easy to use. This ensures it will be used every time, helping to develop a lifelong habit that will keep your child as safe as possible. Seat-belt safety is very important for your car insurance as well. Some accidents may not be covered if you are not using the proper safety equipment. Explore some of the many options for cheap car insurance on our auto insurance page.
Some states have slightly different requirements for children’s car seats and boosters, and the ages at which they can ride with just the seat belt. 48 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico require booster seats or other appropriate devices for children who have outgrown their child safety seats but are still too small to use and adult seat belt safely. The only states lacking booster seat laws are Florida and South Dakota
4 states, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma require children younger than two to be in rear-facing child seats. 5 states, California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York have seat belt requirements for school buses. Texas requires them on buses purchased after September 2010. In California, child restraint systems are required until children are 8 years old, or are 80 lbs., or are taller than 4’9”, and children under 12 cannot ride in front seat.
As of 2017 children less than 2 years old must ride in a rear-facing car seat, unless they weigh 40 pounds or more, or are more than 40 inches tall. Violation of the child restraint law is a serious offence. In California, the first offence of a child passenger violation will cost a minimum of $475 with penalty assessments. A second or subsequent offense carries a minimum cost of $1055.
There are four basic types of car seats that are important. As children grow it is important to make sure the car seat fits the child’s size and age. All vehicles are a little different, so make sure the car seat is right for your vehicle. Test out different car seats and buy one that can be easily installed and used correctly every time.
Infant Car Seats
These are made especially for newborns and small babies. The seat is small and portable, and should be used facing the rear of the car. A baby grows quickly, so they usually outgrow these seats by eight months or so. At that time it is a good idea to purchase a convertible seat. These seats can be used in different ways as your child grows. It has the required harness and tether, and can be used either facing the back or forward. It is recommended to use the seat in the rear facing position as long as possible because it is much safer.
Car Seats For Toddlers And Preschoolers
The convertible booster seat can also change from rear-facing to forward with a harness and tether. An all-in-one seat does the same, but can change into a booster seat as the child gets older. Experts highly recommend that children stay in the rear facing position as long as possible, as it has been proven to be much safer during and accident. The rear-facing position reduces stress on the neck and spinal cord which is very important in growing babies.
A booster seat with a high back is made to boost the child up higher so the seat belt fits properly, over the stronger parts of the body. It also provides head and neck support, which is nice when traveling long distance and the child falls asleep. A backless booster seat is good for cars that have head rests. A combination seat is ideal because it can be used as a forward-facing seat and then be changed into a booster seat when the child grows enough to allow the seat belts to fit correctly.
All seat belts should be snug across the shoulder and chest and lie flat across the upper thighs. It should not be on the stomach or fall across the neck or face. It is also recommended to keep children in car seats for as long as possible, no matter how much they complain. All car seats sold in the U.S. must meet federal safety standards, so selecting one is up to your individual preferences. Always read the manufacturers’ instructions and never put children in the front seat until they are big enough for the seat belt to fit properly.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 33 children would have been saved in 2008 in California if they had been properly restrained in a child safety seat. Be a good role model and always wear you seat-belt as well. This will help children develop a natural habit of using seat belts and staying safe.