September 18-24, 2011 is National Child Passenger Safety Week. This annual safety campaign was created to bring public attention to the importance of properly securing all children in appropriate car seats, booster seats or seat belts—every trip, every time.
All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws requiring that children be restrained in motor vehicles. Car seats and booster seats save lives.
Car seats and booster seats offer the best protection for children in the event of a crash. From 1975 to 2009, approximately 9,310 lives have been saved by the use of child restraints, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Salt River Police Department recommends the following when it comes to properly securing your children in vehicles:
• Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, choose a seat that fits in your vehicle, and use it for every trip.
• Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions. Read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system, and check height and weight limits.
• To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.
• Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.
Car Seat Recommendations for Children by Age
Birth to 12 Months
Children younger than 1 year should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats. Infant-only seats can only be used in the rear-facing position. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
1 to 3 Years
Keep children rear-facing as long as possible; it’s the best way to keep them safe in a vehicle. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
4 to 7 Years
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
8 to 12 Years
Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. The shoulder belt should be worn closely against the body and over the shoulder and across the chest, never under the arm. The lap belt should be firm against the body and low across the hips.
If you have any questions about child safety seats or installation, please contact the Salt River Police Department or visit www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS. Remember to properly secure all children in appropriate car seats, booster seats or seat belts—every trip, every time.