Thousands of children die or are serious injured in car crashes every year in the United States.  Children who are placed in a safety seat in the back seat of the vehicle are 45 percent less likely to experience an injury when involved in a car accident.

Who Needs Safety Seat?
Laws may vary state to state but in general, children under 4 feet 9 inches tall and who weigh less than 100 pounds usually need a safety seat or booster seat.  Some children may need at least a booster seat until they are 12-years-old.

Despite the actions of celebrities, infants should never be held on someone’s lap while riding in a vehicle (especially not the lap of the driver!)  Infants need to be placed in a rear-facing infant safety seat until they are at least 1-year-old and weigh at least 20 pounds.

Your toddlers can continue to use their infant rear-facing safety seat until they have reached the height and weight limit of that seat.  Then they need to be put in a forward-facing safety seat with a harness until they have reached the height and/or weight limit for that seat.

School-aged Children
After a child has outgrown their forward-facing car safety seat, they need a booster seat.  Booster seats should be used until the child is at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall and the adult seat belt in the vehicle fits correctly.  Generally, children will need a booster seat until they are between 8 and 12-years-of-age.

After children have outgrown their booster seat, they should ride in the back seat with a lap and shoulder seat belt under they are at least 13-years-old

Booster Seat Check
Make sure that your child’s booster seat fits correctly.  The shoulder belt should be on your child’s shoulder.  The lap belt should rest across your child’s upper legs (thighs) and should be secured under both armrests.

Additional Car Safety Tips
Never leave your child alone in or around a car!  The heat rises quickly inside parked vehicles, especially if the windows are partially or fully closed.  Additionally, there have been reports of children being strangled by seat belts, sunroofs, and power windows.  Children have also been known to accidentally knock a vehicle into gear, causing it to move (without a driver!)  And children playing around a vehicle may get trapped inside the vehicle or inside the truck or may even be backed over if the driver of the vehicle is unaware of their presence.  Also, remember to be a good role model for your child and always wear your seat belt.  Before fastening your seat belt, make sure that your child is secure in their safety seat.  For young children, you may want to say something like, “Now I’m going to put on my safety belt so I can be safe in the car too!” and make exaggerated movements when buckling-up.  For older children, you don’t need to make such a production about it, but still bring to their attention that you are using you seat belt and they will need to too when they are older.

For more child safety information check out the blog for Amber Alert GPS child locator device.