car seat essentials

As many as 90% of children are restrained either incorrectly or not at all while riding in motor vehicles. Parents are often confused by the directions for different sized and aged children. Here is a simple list of pointers every parent should know, as supplied by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • children should face the rear of the vehicle until they are
    • at least 20 pounds and
    • at least 1 year of age
  • a rear-facing car safety seat must not be placed in the front passenger seat if the vehicle has a passenger-side front air bag
  • a convertible safety seat which is positioned reclined and rear facing for a child until at least 1 year of age and at least 20 pounds, and semi-upright and forward facing for older children up to 40 pounds, should be used as long as the child fits well:
    • ears below the top of the back of the seat
    • and shoulders below the seat strap slots
  • a booster seat should be used when the child has outgrown a convertible safety seat but is too small to fit properly in a vehicle safety belt (60-80 pounds)
  • the child must be secured in the seat and the seat securely fastened in the vehicle

More information about car seat safety can be found at the Medem American Academy of Pediatrics information site.

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