Proper use of car seats help keep children safe. Kids are not just little adults - they are inherently more fragile, as their bones are still forming and their minds are still learning safety precautions. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in children ages 4 and older. To ensure you are fully protecting the children in your life, be sure to follow these simple passenger safety tips.
1. Know the Facts About Your Car Seat
- When purchasing a car seat, ensure you read all the safety information and know the age/size of the child recommended for use.
- If a car seat has been in a crash, is missing parts, or is expired or broken, it needs to be replaced.
- It is recommended that you register your child’s car seat with the manufacturer so you can be notified of any major recalls.
- Make sure your car seat is installed properly. When shaken from side to side, the car seat shouldn’t move more than an inch.
2. Understand Proper Positioning
- Keep your child in a rear facing car seat until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight requirement for their car seat.
- The chest clip should be at armpit level with the strap above unable to be pinched.
- Until they turn 13, keep children in the back seat for their safety. Whether in a front-facing or rear-facing seat, this is the safest place for your little one.
3. Never Leave A Child Alone
- While it may be tempting to run out for a quick errand without your child in tow, you can never leave a child alone in a car. Temperatures can rise to deadly levels in a very short time.
4. Don’t Clutter
- We love giving our children toys to keep their attention, but ensure those toys are soft and rounded. In the event of an accident, sharp and hard objects can injure your child.
- Ensure any loose items within a vehicle are secured and will not fly should a crash occur.
5. Set a Good Example
- Children are always watching. Set a good example for your child by always buckling your seatbelt. Ensure everyone in the vehicle buckles up, too.
The Tallahassee Police Department’s Traffic Unit has a Certified Child Safety Seat Technician who can assist parents with safety seat checks. The seat checks can be done by appointment every Wednesday. If you or a patient is interested in making an appointment, please call 850-891-4261.