Child Passenger Safety Week

This is the week to make sure your kids are as safe as possible while riding in a car. Car seats, when correctly used, can reduce the risk of death by 71%. Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death in U.S. children. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

Buckling children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, and seat belts reduces the risk of serious and fatal injuries:
Car seat use reduces the risk for death to infants (aged <1 year) by 71%; and to toddlers (aged 1–4 years) by 54% in passenger vehicles.
Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45% for children aged 4–8 years when compared with seat belt use alone.
For older children and adults, seat belt use reduces the risk for death and serious injury by approximately half.

So hold your ground the next time your tween refuses to use a seat belt or your 9 year old insists that he doesn’t need a booster seat. This is easy when you are on your way to somewhere the kids want to go, just sit quietly and tell them you are waiting for them to get safe. Don’t give in and they will soon get the message that this is a non-negotiable rule. And of course, buckle yourself in too! As for the jump to the front seat, there is some debate. According to the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), ALL kids under 13 years old, no matter how big should be in the back seat. But what about the tiny 13  year old or the big 12 year old? Play it safe. Wait until your child gets to the size of most 13 year olds (about 5’1″ and 100 pounds) and tell your big 12 year old to wait until age 13.

Here are the CDC recommendations for buckling up your child at every age:

Birth up to Age 2: Rear-facing car seat.
For the best possible protection, infants and children should be buckled in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat, until age 2 or when they reach the upper weight or height limits of their particular seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.
Age 2 up to at least Age 5: Forward-facing car seat.
When children outgrow their rear-facing seats they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat, in the back seat, until at least age 5 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of their particular seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.
Age 5 up until seat belts fit properly: Booster seat. 
Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat, (by reaching the upper height or weight limit of their seat), they should be buckled in a belt positioning booster seat until seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). Remember to keep children properly buckled in the back seat for the best possible protection.
Once Seat Belts Fit Properly without a Booster Seat: Seat Belt
Children no longer need to use a booster seat once seat belts fit them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). For the best possible protection keep children properly buckled in the back seat.

Types_of_Car_Seats_Grid-2

More info from Healthychildren.org