Buckling up the right way on every ride is the single most important thing a family can do to stay safe in the car. But finding the safest way for each member of the family to ride can be confusing if you don’t have the right information. Below you can find the information you need to keep your kids safe.
Research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found them to reduce fatal injury by 72 percent for infants younger than 1 year of age and by 54 percent for toddlers ages 1-4. Children ages 2-6 years old in child safety seats (including child restraints and belt positioning booster seats) are approximately 28 percent less likely to receive a fatal injury than those using safety belts alone.
The Safety Belt Fit Test (Safe Kids USA)
- Have your child sit in a back seat with her bottom and back against the vehicle’s seat back. Do the child’s knees bend at the seat’s edge? If yes, go on. If not, the child must stay in a booster seat. If yes, go on. If it rests on the soft part of the stomach, the child must stay in a booster seat.
- Buckle the seat belt. Does the lap belt stay low on the hips or high on the thigh? If yes, go on. If it rests on the soft part of the stomach, the child must stay in a booster seat.
- Look at the shoulder belt. Does it lie on the collarbone and shoulder? If yes, go on. If it is on the face or neck, the child must remain in a booster seat. Never put the shoulder belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back. Do not allow children to play with the shoulder portion of a seat belt. Treat it like any cord.
- Can the child maintain the correct seating position with the shoulder belt on the shoulder and the lap belt low across the hips, or high on the thighs? If yes, the child has passed the Safety Belt Fit Test. If no, the child should return to a booster seat and re-test in a month.
- Seat belts generally fit a child when they are at least 4’9” tall (57 inches) between the ages of 8-12 and who weigh between 80-100 pounds. Have all children pass the Safety Belt Fit Test before moving them from a booster seat into the adult seat belt.
- As children get older, their seat belt use rates tend to decline.
- Safe Kids of Lee and Collier Counties reminds the public that all passengers are required to wear seat belts on every trip, ensuring that everyone who rides in the car is buckled up and that all children 12 and younger ride in a back seat in a properly installed child restraint appropriate for the child’s age and size.
One in Four
Did you know? One in every four car seats is installed incorrectly?
Installing a car seat can certainly try a parent’s patience. Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties hosts car seat safety inspections throughout Southwest Florida where parents receive one-on-one personalized instruction on how to properly install and use their children’s car seats.
Car and booster safety checks are performed by Nationally Certified Passenger Safety Technicians. For a list of inspection locations and contact information in Collier County and to learn more about what you can expect during a car seat inspection and what you need to bring.