Car Seat Safety

Fall is here, school has started and we are spending a lot more time in our cars now that the cold weather has arrived. Now is the perfect time to remember to make sure your car seat is correctly installed to ensure your child’s safety.

If you use the “LATCH System,” make sure the LATCH belt is secured to the anchors found in most vehicle seats. LATCH-equipped child safety seats have lower attachments that fasten to the anchors. Most forward-facing child safety seats also have a strap that attaches to the top anchor. Together they make up the LATCH System. If your vehicle or child safety seat are not LATCH-equipped, use a safety belt to secure the seat. For more information on the LATCH system, refer to the owner’s manual.

Remember your child must be 1 year old AND weigh at least 20lbs before you can turn your car seat around and have it facing forward. Until then, your seat should remain rear facing. While rear facing the car seat must be buckled in to the vehicle seat tightly. The seat should not move more than one inch from side to side or front to back. The seat should recline so the child’s head lies back on the car seat without falling forward. Harness straps should be snug with no slack, and the harness clip should be on the child’s chest at armpit level. Again always read the instructions that come with your car seat! Also, NEVER place a car seat in a vehicle seat located in front of an active airbag.

Last but not least, Michigan law requires children younger than age 8 and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches to be properly buckled in a child safety seat or booster seat while riding in a motor vehicle. If your vehicle seats have a head rest, a no-back booster is recommended; a high-back booster is recommended for vehicle seats without a head rest. Booster seats are designed to be used with a lap belt AND shoulder belt, NEVER just a lap belt only! Always be sure to read over the instructions that come with your car seat or booster seat to ensure correct usage to keep your precious cargo as safe as possible!

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