In today’s highly mobile society, children travel more than ever. Sadly, this mobility comes at a staggering price. In 2007, more than 1,600 kids died and over 200,000 were injured in car crashes – enough to rank motor vehicle crashes as a leading cause of death for children in the U.S.
Tragically, many of these deaths could have been prevented. Research shows that seat belts and safety seats – when properly used – are the most effective tools in preventing injuries and deaths in vehicle crashes.
- Over 40 pounds
- Usually around age 4
- Belt-positioning booster seat.
- Use until safety belt fits properly – see Stage 4.
- Seat belts are designed for 165-pound male adults, so it’s no wonder that research shows poorly fitting adult belts can injure children.
- Booster seats help ensure proper seat belt placement – resulting in a safer ride for your child. It is the appropriate next step after the child has outgrown a forward-facing child safety seat.
- ALWAYS use both lap and shoulder belt with a booster seat.
- Make sure the lap belt fits low and tight across the lap/upper thigh area – NOT the abdomen.
- Shoulder belt should cross the chest and shoulder.
- ALWAYS in the back seat!
Did you know that 8 out of 10 car seats are installed incorrectly? It is a staggering fact that many car seats are not installed correct. Be sure to read your vehicle owner’s manual and car seat instruction manual before you install your safety seat.
Here are some tips to remember as you install your seat:
- Booster seats should be installed in the back seat of your vehicle.
- Always use a lap/shoulder belt with your booster seat.
- Place the booster seat on your vehicle seat.
- Buckle the lap/shoulder seat belt around your child and the belt-positioning booster seat. Be sure to place the seat belt through the belt guides to help keep it positioned properly on your child.
- The lap belt is positioned low on your child’s hips and upper thighs; the shoulder portion comes across the sternum and collarbone.
- Be sure not to use any aftermarket accessories such as mirrors and metal roller shades, these items could come undone in a crash or sudden stop and injure people in your vehicle.
- Secure any loose items such as purses, briefcases, toys and umbrellas when you travel so they do not injure anyone.
There are certified technicians available to help you install your safety seat. Call 1-866-SEAT-CHECK 1-866-SEAT-CHECK to find a certified safety seat technician in your area.
How do you know when it’s time to switch to an adult seat belt?
When the child can sit with his back straight against the vehicle seat back cushion and knees can bend over the seat edge without slouching. The seat belt should fit the child low across the hips and thighs, and across the shoulder and chest. It should not cut into the child’s abdomen or neck.
What types of injuries could occur if the seat belt doesn’t fit properly?
Out-of-position lap belts can cause serious injuries to the liver, spleen or intestines. Additionally, as the child’s upper body jack-knifes over the high-riding lap belt, the spine may pivot and fracture, resulting in paralysis.