Archive for the ‘car seat safety’ Tag

When is it OK for Your Child to Ride in the Front Seat?

Recently, we’ve started letting our oldest child who is 10 years old (and big for his age) ride in the front seat. Our logic was he’s as tall and weighs as much as an adult so why wouldn’t he be OK?

Apparently, our logic isn’t aligned with what the experts say on the matter.

As with so many parenting issues, the question of when to let your child ride in the front seat can be confusing. But I did discover the age most experts agree on and why.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all recommend that children stay in the back seat until age 13.

Dr. Susan Bolton, a pediatrician at Christie Clinic, says the size of the child doesn’t matter. It’s all about their age.

“All children under 13 years of age should ride in the back seat regardless of height and weight,” Bolton said.

Bolton says there are several reasons why. A major factor is younger children haven’t fully developed their bones yet, which increases the risk to vital organs in a motor vehicle crash.

“Although children under age 13 may weigh as much or be as tall as some adults, their hip bones are not fully developed,” Bolton said. “Even if the lap belt starts out in the right place, it can ride up onto the abdomen in children which increases the risk of injury to the abdominal organs in a motor vehicle crash.”

Bolton added the sternum (the breast bone) may not be fully developed until 11-17 years of age, which puts the child at increased risk of injury to the heart and lungs in a crash.

Also, the three items in the vehicle that are responsible for the most injuries during a motor vehicle crash are the windshield, the dashboard and the air bag. Bolton said children properly buckled up in the back seat are not likely to come into contact with these items.

Studies have shown that after the age of 13, the risk of injury to a child in a crash becomes equal to the risk in an adult.

The Illinois Secretary of State guidelines, which are based on AAP recommendations, also say children should be kept in the back seat until they are teenagers.

In fact, the state of Illinois guidelines go on to say 8-12-year-olds who aren’t big enough to fit properly in a seatbelt alone should sit in a booster seat. (The image below shows how a seatbelt should properly fit your child.)

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The general consensus says seat belts don’t typically fit children properly until they are at least 57 inches tall (4 feet 9 inches) and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds.

That means small 7th graders should be in a booster seat? I imagine that would be a tough sell for some tweens.

I’m guessing it’s also going to be difficult for my son when I tell him he has to return to the back seat with his little brother and sister.

I’ll just blame it on the experts.

For more information about children’s seatbelt safety laws and guidelines, go to the Secretary of State’s website.

Read more at: http://www.chambanamoms.com/2016/08/19/okay-child-ride-front-seat/

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Child Passenger Safety: Get the Facts

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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.

Read more at: http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/cps-factsheet.html

Car Seat Recommendations for Children

There are many car seat choices on the market. Use the information below to help you choose the type of car seat that best meets your child’s needs.

Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, choose a seat that fits in your vehicle, and use it every time.
Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions (check height and weight limits) and read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or lower anchors and a tether, if available.

To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.

Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.

Rear-Facing Car Seat

Birth – 12 Months

Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats:
Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing.

Convertible and All-in-one car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.

1 – 3 Years

Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether.

Forward-Facing Car Seat

1 – 3 Years

Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether.

4 – 7 Years

Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.

Booster Seat

4 – 7 Years

Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.

8 – 12 Years

Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.

Seat Belt

8 – 12 Years

Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.

As read on: http://www.safercar.gov/parents/CarSeats/Right-Seat-Age-And-Size-Recommendations.htm

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: http://safeseats4kids.aaa.com/for-parents/top-12-car-seat-mistakes/?sf18823336=1

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!