It is important to ensure that the child travelling in your car is safe throughout the journey. The Child Protection Act stipulates that all children under the age of eight must be secured in a suitable child restraint system.
Pro Tip: Always Anchor in your child seats: Rear Facing, Forward Facing even Booster seats have anchors.
If the rear seat of a vehicle is not fitted with a lap or shoulder belt, a child weighing more than 40 pounds should be carried in a child seat or secured in the rear with a lap belt. Children between the ages of four and seven should sit in the front row of a vehicle with two or more rows of seats and they should sit in an appropriate child seat not occupied by a child under seven years of age. If you need to hold your child seated in the front row, adjust the seat as much as possible to protect your child against injury when the airbags are activated (This applies for Trucks with only front row seating).
Children who exceed the rear weight and height limits of their convertible seat should wear a front-facing seat belt as soon as possible, regardless of the maximum weight or height allowed by their manufacturer for safety seats. Children 2 years and younger (up to 2 years) who overtake the face height and weight limit of their child seat can use a forward-facing child seat with a full harness. Seats with forward facing design are designed for children 10 – 36 kilograms (57 Pounds) or more depending on the model.
School-age children whose weight or height exceeds the forward limit for their car safety seat should use the seat belt position of a child seat or vehicle belt that fits until they reach a height of 8 to 12 years.
Older children in seat belts- Children older and taller than the seat belts that fit them should use a lap or shoulder belt for the best protection. Children under seven years of age should use a buckled adult lap belt until it is large enough to fit them.
If a child uses a specific child seat instead of an adult seat belt (car-seat/booster seat), it will not protect you in the event of an accident, even if the child is the right size. It is better to also use restraint systems (Example: When you buckle in a car-seat: Use the anchor straps and the seatbelt through the back of the seat or bottom depending how the seat is faced).
In terms of safety in the car: Always check your states laws on when your child/children may be in the front passenger seat, as many cars have additional safety technology such as smart airbags. Children, and infants in the passenger seat are at risk of being injured or killed by the inflated front airbag. Although any restraint is better than none, the most appropriate child seat offers the best protection in a crash for children and older adults. Do research to find out what is best for your baby, toddler, child or young kid.
Children aged between 4 and 8 are more likely to be injured in the car than children under 4 years old. Many parents allow their children to climb into the front seat before they are 13 years old – the minimum age considered safe. Children should be in the back seat as much as possible, but there are situations where that is not an option, and state laws take these situations into account.
A booster helps to keep children safe by increasing the height of the child so that the seat belt sits comfortably on the lap and/or chest. Children feel more comfortable in a child seat if their legs are bent at the end of the seat. A child seat is a vehicle safety seat for children who have outgrown the front-facing convertible child seat and are too small to be in the vehicle with only a seat belt. A child seat can be used as a vehicle as a lap or shoulder belt, but never as a lap belt. In most new cars you can lock the seat belt of your vehicle by pulling it from the way, letting it retract, and tucking it into the car seat.
A child should also never be allowed to roam around a moving vehicle. All children and adults should always be in a seat with the proper safety seatbelt!
As parents, we spend a lot of time researching the best car seats and the latest safety guidelines for car seats. There are a lot of hidden dangers to be aware of, some of which are obvious, others less so. So, always make sure that your child is in the right kind of seat.