National Seat Check Saturday is on September 21st! In honor of child Passenger Safety Week we have a few tips to help you make sure your smallest passengers are ready for the ride! According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading cause of death in children ages 1 through 13. That’s why making sure everyone is properly buckled in is so important! Choosing a car seat can be difficult and overwhelming because of all the different options. However, the NHTSA Find The Right Seat tool can help you make sure your child’s car safety is up to par!
Car Seat Installation Tips
- Read the car seat instruction manual and your vehicle’s owner manual portion on car seat installation. You will install the seat using either anchors or your car seat belt. Every seat and vehicle is different so follow all instructions carefully
- After installing the seat in the back of your vehicle, makes sure it does not move side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch.
- If using a forward-facing seat that has a tether strap, make sure to connect it to the tether strap and tighten.
- Make sure rear-facing seat are installed at the correct angle. Many car seats have built-in angle indicators, but many fire and police stations offer free car seat inspections!
Getting the Proper Fit
Properly installing a car-seat is only half the battle. Fitting your child in the seat correctly is also critical to their safety. All harnesses should lie flat through the slot at or below your child’s shoulders. Buckle the harness and chest clip, then tighten. It is snug enough when extra material cannot be pinched at the shoulder. The chest slip should rest at armpit level.
And remember, it’s not only babies and toddlers who need additional car safety equipment. Children 8 to 12 years old could still need a booster seat. Children should always ride in a booster seat until they outgrow it’s size limits or they are big enough for adult seat belts to fit them. A properly fitting seat belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest, not crossing the face or neck. The lap belt should lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. If you are unsure about your child’s car seat fit, get a car seat inspection this Seat Check Saturday!