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Protecting Your Precious Cargo: Top 10 Car Seat Safety Tips for Children of All Ages

April 02, 2019

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1-19 in Arkansas. Selecting and properly installing the correct car seat can be the difference between life and death. Take a look at these car seat safety facts from the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children’s to see how you can keep your kids safe on the road.

  1. Rear Facing As Long As Possible: Children should be in a rear-facing car seat until age 2 or until the child surpasses the height and weight limit of his car seat.
  2. No Booster until 40 Pounds. Do not use a booster seat until your child has fully outgrown his or her forward-facing car seat with harnesses, typically age 4 and approximately 40 pounds.
  3. Check the Harnesses. Car seat harnesses should be in slots at or above the child’s shoulders. They should be snug and clipped at armpit level.
  4. Nothing between Child and Harness. Do not put anything thick between your child and the car seat harness straps. This includes blankets, winter coats and those really cute, plush car seat covers that have a back section between the baby and car seat. Super cute, but very dangerous.
  5. Booster until 8 years or 80 pounds. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children ride in a booster seat until they reach 8 years of age or 80 pounds.
  6. Shoulder Belt in Place. Never let your child slip the shoulder belt behind their arm or back. This keeps the upper part of the body highly vulnerable during a crash, often resulting in severe injuries.
  7. Under 13 in Back. Children under 13 years of age should always ride in the back seat, away from air bags, with their seat belt buckled at all times.
  8. Always Buckle Up. Everyone - including adults – in the car should be buckled up at all times.
  9. Watch Hand-Me-Downs. Don’t assume your new baby can ride in his or her older sibling’s car seat. Replace car seats every six years.
  10. Have a Pro Check Your Work. Approximately 90% of people installing car seats get it wrong on the first try (studies show the average car seat has 3 mistakes). Let the pros help you get your car seat installed correctly! The Injury Prevention Center routinely offer car seat safety checks so you can ensure your car seat is set up correctly and ready for the road.

Stop by our car seat check event this Thursday, April 4, at Saint Mark’s Baptist Church located at 5722 W. 12th St. Certified child passenger safety technicians will be on hand to inspect your child’s car seat to ensure that it is correctly installed, not expired and the right fit for your child.

 

To learn more about motor vehicle safety and the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, visit https://www.archildrens.org/health-and-wellness/injury-prevention-center/motor-vehicle-safety/motor-vehicle-safety or call 501-364-3400. 

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