One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is keeping your child safe while riding in a vehicle. Each year, thousands of young children are killed or injured in car crashes. Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for American children.
Using child safety seats correctly can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent. Unfortunately, almost 60 percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly.
Safe Kids Big Bend
Safe Kids Big Bend (SKBB) is a non-profit coalition led by Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) dedicated to keeping kids safety. Based on the needs of the community, SKBB implements evidence-based programs, like car seat checkups, and provides educational resources to help parents and caregivers prevent childhood injuries.
SKBB encourages using the right car seat to ensure children are safely secured at every stage of their development.
Car Seat Safety Tips
Here are a few tips for parents and caregivers to protect their most precious cargo.
Plan ahead. If you are an expectant parent, give yourself enough time to learn how to properly install the car seat in your car before your baby is born to ensure a safe ride home from the hospital.
If you are an expectant parent, give yourself enough time to learn how to properly install the car seat in your car before your baby is born to ensure a safe ride home from the hospital.
Choose the right direction. For the best protection, keep your baby in a rear-facing car seat until two years old or older (depending on the child’s weight and height). You can find the exact height and weight limit on the side or back of your car seat. Kids who ride in rear-facing car seats have the best protection for the head, neck and spine. Rear-facing children need to ride in a back seat away from the airbag.
Correctly install the car seat using the Inch Test. Once your car seat is installed, please give it a good tug at the base where the seat belt goes through it. Can you move it more than an inch side to side or front to back? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
Make sure the harness is tightly buckled. Check your car seat manual to ensure that the harness is coming from the correct slots. With the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you are good to go.
Lock the car seat in place. For both rear- and forward-facing car seats, use either the car’s seat belt or the lower anchors to secure the car seat. For forward-facing seats, you can also use the top tether to lock the car seat in place. Do not use the lower anchors and seat belt at the same time. They are equally safe, so pick the one that gives you the best fit.
When to change your car seat. Review the car seat label to ensure your child is still within the weight, height and age limits for that seat. Do not be in a rush to move your child up to the next car seat. Every seat is designed for maximum safety at a specific weight, height and age.
Learn More About Car Seat Safety
Many kids spend a lot of time in the car, so it is important to learn how to keep them safe on the road. There is so much to know! Watch our video and learn the basics of installing a rear-facing car seat. For more tips on keeping your child safe, visit SafeKids.org/BigBend.