How Important Are Car Seats, You Ask?
In the late 90's, before child and booster seat information was readily available and legislation was passed, car crashes were the leading cause of death for American children under four. That is no longer true. Studies have shown a whopping 15% reduction in motor vehicle-related fatalities for all child occupants.
But what car seat to use and when?
This is a tricky one. You may think your child has outgrown their current seat or is big enough to sit forward-facing but it's vitally important to consult an expert by calling your car seat 's manufacturer's customer service as many of them are certified technicians. You can also attend a local car seat checkup event. Always read the instructions and labels on your car seat.
The booster seat will be the last phase of car seats you need to purchase for your child. But when is it time to retire that booster seat? When your child passes Safe Kid's Seat Belt Test:
- The child's knees should bend at the edge of the seat when his or her back and bottom are against the vehicle seat back;
- The vehicle lap belt should fit across the upper thighs NOT the stomach area; and
- The shoulder belt should fit across the shoulder and chest. This means approximately 4'9" and 80 to 100 pounds. This is usually between the ages of eight to 12 years old.
Another thing to keep in mind, not all states have the same laws when it comes to car seats. Follow Safe Kids' test for the safety of your children but it's also good to know where your state stands on the issues.