Archive for the ‘car seat installation’ Tag

Child Passenger Safety: Get the Facts


Know the stages
Make sure children are properly buckled up in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt, whichever is appropriate for their age, height and weight.

Birth up to Age 2: Rear-facing car seat.
For the best possible protection, infants and children should be buckled in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat, until age 2 or when they reach the upper weight or height limits of their particular seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.

Age 2 up to at least Age 5: Forward-facing car seat.
When children outgrow their rear-facing seats they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat, in the back seat, until at least age 5 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of their particular seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.

Age 5 up until seat belts fit properly: Booster seat.
Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat, (by reaching the upper height or weight limit of their seat), they should be buckled in a belt positioning booster seat until seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). Remember to keep children properly buckled in the back seat for the best possible protection.

Once Seat Belts Fit Properly without a Booster Seat: Seat Belt
Children no longer need to use a booster seat once seat belts fit them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). For the best possible protection keep children properly buckled in the back seat.

Install and Use Car & Booster Seats Properly
Install and use car seats and booster seats according to the seat’s owner’s manual or get help installing them from a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

Find a child passenger safety technician.

Don’t Seat Children in Front of an Airbag
Buckle all children aged 12 and under in the back seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an air bag.

Seat Children in the Middle of the Back Seat
Buckle children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.14

Use Proper Restraints Every Trip
Buckle children in car seats, booster seats, or seat belts on every trip, no matter how short.

Parents and Caregivers: Always Wear a Seat Belt
Set a good example by always using a seat belt themselves.

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Top 12 Car Seat Mistakes

1) Moving your child out of a booster seat too soon.

Consequence: Seat belts are designed to fit adults, not children. Improper seat belt fit can result in abdominal or neck injury in a crash or sudden stop.

Recommendation: Keep your children in booster seats until the seat belt fits them properly. Children should be able to sit with their back against the seat, knees bending at the edge of the seat and feet touching the floor. The lap belt should be positioned low across their hips and upper thighs with the shoulder belt across their chest and collarbone. Depending on your child’s growth and development, a seat belt typically fits correctly between ages 8 – 12.

2) Not installing the car seat tightly enough.

Consequence: If the seat belt or lower anchor connection is too loose, the car seat will not stay put, subjecting your child to greater crash forces.

Recommendation: The car seat should not move side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch when tested at the belt path.

3) Harness straps too loose.

Consequence: If harnesses are too loose, your child will not be properly restrained in the event of a crash. This may subject your child to higher crash forces, or even ejection from the seat altogether.

Recommendation: Harness straps should lay flat and not have any twists. Be sure the harness is snug enough that you cannot pinch any extra material at the child’s shoulder.

4) Retainer clip (or chest clip) is too low.

Consequence: The retainer clip helps keep the child secure in the car seat in the event of a sudden stop of crash. When a retainer clip is too low, a child can come out of the harnesses or the hard, plastic retainer clip can cause internal damage to their abdomen.

Recommendation: Place the retainer clip at armpit level.

5) Turning your child forward facing too soon.

Consequence: Children in the second year of life are 5 times less likely to die or be seriously injured in a crash if they ride in a rear-facing car seat. Turning a child forward facing before age two can result in head , neck or spinal cord injury due to the their underdeveloped bodies.

Recommendation: A child should remain in a rear-facing seat as long as possible until they reach the upper weight or height limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer. Once your child outgrows a rear-facing infant seat, switch to a rear-facing convertible car seat with higher height and weight limits.

6) Allowing a child under the age of 13 to ride in the front seat.

Consequence: children under the age of 13 are typically not large enough to safely ride in the front seat and can be seriously injured by front passenger air bags in the event of a crash.

Recommendation: All children under age 13 should be properly restrained in the back seat.

7) Forgetting the top tether.

Consequence: Without the top tether, your child’s head and neck will be subject to excessive forward movement in a crash or sudden stop.

Recommendation: When recommended, always use the top tether with both LATCH OR seat belt installations.

8) Adding additional padding, toys or mirrors to your child’s car seat.

Consequence: Using products that have not been tested with the car seat may interfere with how the seat was designed to perform in a crash. Loose items, such as mirrors, can also become a dangerous projectile in a sudden stop or crash.

Recommendation: Only use products that come with the seat or are recommended by the seat manufacturer. Be sure to secure all lose items in a vehicle truck or storage space.

9) Installing a car seat using LATCH in the center rear seat of a vehicle (when not permitted by the manufacturer)

Consequence: Most vehicles do not support LATCH installations in the center rear seat. Using lower anchors intended for outboard seats could cause the system to fail and the car seat to be thrown in a crash.

Recommendation: Always read your vehicles owner’s manual and only use lower anchors in seating positions that are approved by the vehicle manufacturer.

10) Transporting unsecured, heavy items, including pets, in the vehicle.
Consequence: Loose items in the vehicle can become dangerous projectiles and seriously injure passengers in the car.

Recommendation: Secure items in a truck, glove compartments or storage location. Properly restrain pets with approved devices.

11) Installing a car seat using both LATCH AND a seat belt.

Consequence: Installing a car seat with more than one system may put unnecessary stress on the car seat and affect its performance in the event of a crash.

Recommendation: In this case, tow is not better than one. Install the car seat in approved seating positions with LATCH OR the seat belt. Do not use more than once system unless the car seat manufacturer and vehicle manufacturer permit it.

12) Wearing bulky coats/sweaters while buckled into a car seat.

Consequence: Unapproved padding, including coats and sweaters, placed behind or under the harness can compress in a crash, creating slack in the harness system.

Recommendation: Place blankets or jackets over the child after the harness is sung and secure.

As read on:

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!