Is Your Child Safe?

According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death among children between 5 and 14 years of age. Says NHTSA: “Over 50% of children who die in crashes are unrestrained [by safety devices]. In addition, 4 out of 5 children are improperly restrained.”

The NHTSA offers a number of safety tips and cautions for those who are accompanied by children while driving. Although laws vary from country to country and even from state to state, these guidelines may serve as food for thought to many parents and guardians of children. Please check your local laws and do whatever you can to keep your precious cargo safe!

SAFETY TIPS

The safest place for all children is in the back seat.

1 Infants should be placed in a rear-facing child safety seat in the backseat of the car.

2 A child at least a year old and weighing at least 20 pounds [9 kg] may be placed in a forward-facing seat.

3 At 40 pounds [18 kg], the child can use a “booster seat,” which is secured by one of the car’s lap and shoulder belts.

4 At approximately 80 pounds [36 kg] and a height of about four feet nine inches [140 cm], the child may begin using an adult safety strap.

CAUTIONS

Children should not sit in the front passenger seat until they are at least 13 years of age. Front-passenger air bags can cause serious injuries to younger children and babies.

When a booster seat is used, a lap belt alone will not provide sufficient protection if the booster seat does not have a shield.

Do not think that a shoulder belt alone will protect a small child; in the event of a crash, the belt may cut across the neck of the child, causing serious injury or even death.

Follow instructions closely when installing and using child seats. According to NHTSA, “even the ‘safest’ seat may not protect your child if it isn’t used correctly.”

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Proper installation of a child seat includes securely fastening the seat belt