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A Refresher Course in Child Passenger Safety

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Car seats have a consistent track record for keeping young passengers safe.
Photo: Pixnio

September 17th-23rd is National Child Passenger Safety Week. Whether you have children of your own to chauffeur or you regularly haul friends’ children around town, it’s important to keep young ones safe in the car. Here are some easy strategies to help you do just that.

Age-appropriate protection

Depending on how old a child passenger is, they’re going to need either a seat belt or some form of car seat or booster seat.

  • From birth up to 2 years of age, a baby needs to be in a rear-facing car seat; however, read the manufacturer’s label for weight and height limit details since each product can have slightly different safety suggestions. According to a study published in Pediatrics, car seats reduced the risk of infant death by 71% for babies under 1 years old; it reduced the risk of toddler death by 54%.
  • From 2-5 years of age, a child needs to be in a forward-facing car seat. Children can also remain rear-facing until they reach the height and weight limitations specified by the car seat manufacturer.
  • Children 5 years old and up will need a booster seat until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and weigh between 80-100 pounds. For children 4-8 years old, booster seats lowered the injury risk as much as 45%.
buckle up

Kid wearing seat belt: check.Toy sharks wearing seat belts: bonus points?…
Photo: Nicki Dugan Pogue

Back seat is safest

According to the CDC, the back seat will provide the best protection for children 12 years old and younger. Front airbags are designed to protect adult-sized passengers, not young ones. Children can suffer serious harm when a front airbag is deployed, due to the airbag’s force and deployment height.

Buckle up

Always make sure that child passengers are buckled up before you start driving. Seat belt use can reduce the risk of an injury or death by about 50%, according to the NHTSA.

Set the example

Children often follow the pattern that adults set. Make sure to buckle up each time you get in your vehicle, so your children can develop this safe habit.

These protective measures will help children riding in your vehicle stay as safe as possible.

Source: CDC, CDC – Facts