Today on Fox 5 San Diego, I brought some of my favorite car seats and some of the most popular car seats to demonstrate proper car seat use and talk about important child passenger safety tips.
- In the U.S. motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 -14.
- Properly used car seats can reduce the risk of death by 71 percent.
- BUT nearly 73 percent of car seats are not being used properly.
CHECK YOUR CHILD’S CAR SEAT SAFETY
The first thing you can do is check your car seat’s labeling and manual. Make sure the seat you are using accommodates your child’s age, height and weight.
The next step is to have your car seat installed or checked by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. SafeKids.org offers car seat check events all over the U.S. and some local police stations offer the service free of charge.
REAR-FACING CAR SEAT USE
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that a child remain in the rear-facing position until at least 2 years of age. When a child is in a rear-facing car seat, the harness height should be at or below the child’s shoulder height.
The Summer Infant Prodigy infant car seat has won the NHTSA’s award for highest ease of use due to its innovative and easy safety features.
- The SafeGuard OneAdjust harness system automatically adjusts to the height of the child and eliminates the need to rethread the harness as the child grows.
- The SmartScreen technology walks parents through a simple 3-step installation process to click, level and tighten the car seat base and the green smiley face at each step confirms proper, tight and secure installation to the vehicle.
- The one-handed belt tightening system makes snug installation easy and obtainable without need to get in the car and kneel on the car seat base.
Because the AAP recommends that a child should be in the rear-facing position until at least age two, the next step is to transition to a convertible car seat installed in the rear-facing position.
The Orbit Baby Toddler Car Seat G2 is a convertible car seat for children 15 to 65 pounds. In the rear-facing position, the Orbit Baby Toddler car seat accommodates children from 15 to 35 pounds and can be installed with the included Side Impact Braces or the optional Car Seat Base.
The Car Seat Base not only allows for easy rear-facing use, it encourages extended rear-facing use. Getting a toddler into a rear-facing car seat is not an easy task (let alone properly securing a toddler into a rear-facing car seat). With the Orbit Baby Toddler Car Seat G2 and the Car Seat Base, you can rotate the car seat with one hand to face the side of the vehicle, load your child into the car seat, properly secure your child in the harness and then rotate your child into the rear-facing position.
FORWARD-FACING CAR SEAT USE
Once your child has outgrown the rear-facing guidelines for your car seat or you transition your child to the forward-facing position, you will continue to use a convertible car seat. When a child is in a forward-facing car seat, the harness height should be at or above the child’s shoulder height.
The Britax Advocate is a convertible car seat that accommodates children 5 to 70 pounds (5 – 40 rear-facing and 20 – 70 forward-facing). Britax is all about safety you can see and with the Advocate, you can see the side impact cushion technology, integrated steel bars, SafeCell technology in the HUGS pads and base and energy-absorbing Versa-Tether. The Click and Safe
On all car seats (both rear-facing and forward-facing) you want the harness to be snug enough that you cannot pinch it with your fingers. After the child is positioned in the harness and the harness is tightened, make sure the chest clip is at the child’s armpit level.
BOOSTER SEAT USE
In California (and other states), it’s the law to keep a child in a booster car seat until at least 8 years of age. Booster seats help to place the vehicle safety belt in the safest position across a child’s body.
The Britax Parkway SGL is a high-back booster seat that provides side impact protection and proper vehicle belt positioning for children 40 – 120 pounds and 38 to 63 inches tall (standing height). The ISOFLEX LATCH system fixes the booster to the vehicle to keep it in place and to keep it from becoming a projectile object in the event of an accident – if the seat is not in use.
The SecureGuard system keeps the vehicle belt in its place and helps to prevent a child from sliding down the booster seat — causing abdominal injuries — in the vent of an accident.
The Clek Ozzi is the sleek and stylish backless booster for children 40 to 120 pounds and 40 to 57 inches. The Ozzi is designed and cushioned with comfort-cube padding to prevent “numb-butt” – which is when your legs and butt fall asleep after sitting for extended periods of time. The lightweight design and 10-second LATCH installation make it an ideal booster for on-the-go families.
Booster seat safety tips
- The lap portion of the vehicle belt should lie across a child’s upper legs and hips and not across a child’s lower abdomen.
- The shoulder belt portion of the vehicle safety belt should lie across the child’s shoulder and not touching or against the child’s neck.
- Always use a vehicle safety belt with a lap and shoulder belt and never a lap belt only.
- The back seat is the safest place for a child in a car seat or booster seat and should be the only place for a child under the age of 13.
For more Booster seat safety tips and other child passenger safety tips, visit SafeKids.org.