How to Protect Children with Car Seats, Booster Seats and Safety Belts
If you have a “baby on board,” you need to make sure that child has the proper safety restraint. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends different types of car seats based on the age and size of your child:
- Birth to three years old — NHTSA guidelines state that a child under one year of age should always ride in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat of the car. You should maintain the rear-facing position for your child for as long as possible. Once your child has reached the top weight and height that your car seat manufacturer allows, your child can graduate to a forward-facing car seat.
- Four to seven years old — The child is ready to ride in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether, but still in the back seat. When a child outgrows the manufacturer’s limits for this seat, he or she can use a booster seat.
- Eight to 12 years old — A booster seat is appropriate if the seat belt fits the child properly. The lap belt must lie across the upper thighs and the shoulder strap should cross the shoulder going down to the thigh. It should not ride up to the child’s neck. The child must still ride in the back seat.
- Eight to 13 plus years old — Your child has outgrown the booster seat when the seat belt fits properly. The lap belt should fit snugly across the tighs and the shoulder strap should cross the shoulder to the thigh without riding up to the child’s neck. The child should continue to ride in the back seat for safety sake.
When using a car seat, it is vitally important to install the seat properly. The NHTSA maintains an excellent website for parents with video instructions on how to install various types of car seats.
All parents want to keep their children safe in the event of an accident. But if your children have been injured, Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P. can help. For a free consultation and case evaluation, call us today at 253.250.4516 or contact our office online.