According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half of car seats are misused. To help combat this issue, NHTSA sponsors Child Passenger Safety Week each year, a campaign dedicated to helping parents and caregivers make sure their children ride as safely as possible — every trip, every time.
Jessica Johnson, an LPN and CPST at Northeast Pediatrics, wants to remind parents that it’s critical to use car seats that age- and size-appropriate is the best way to keep your child safe. According to NHTSA, motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children. Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts can make all the difference.
Too often, parents move their children to the front seat before they should, which increases the risk of injury and death, even if they are buckled up. The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat. According to NHTSA, in 2015, about 25.8% of children 4 to 7 who should have been riding in booster seats were prematurely moved to seat belts, and 11.6% were unbuckled altogether.
NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height or weight allowed for their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing-only “infant” car seat, he/she should travel in a rear-facing “convertible,” or all-in-one, car seat. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing size limits, the child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and a tether.
After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat with a harness, your child should be placed in a booster seat until he/she the right size to use a seat belt safely. Regardless of weight and/or height, children under 13 should always sit in the back seat.
Remember to register your car seat or booster seat with the seat manufacturer so you can be notified in the event of a recall.
As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to Northeast Pediatrics at 660.627.2229.