From the moment your child is born, you do everything in your power to keep them safe. Most parents and caregivers know the importance of car seats for protecting children, but it’s also important to make sure you are choosing and using them correctly. Free online resources can help.
Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 20-26) is the perfect time to brush up on these tips to help your family travel safely.
1. Always buckle up
According to the latest 2018 crash data from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 1 in 3 children under 12 killed in car crashes were not using a car seat, booster seat or seat belt at all. For kids between the ages of 8 and 14, nearly half of those killed (45%) weren’t wearing their seat belts. Always remember to check that your kids are buckled up before you start the car, especially as they get older and more independent.
2. Brush up on your car seat skills
Even if you’ve been buckling your child into a car seat for years, it’s a good idea to periodically review the basics, making sure you aren’t skipping any important safety steps. Don’t rush things. Take some time to practice how to properly buckle your child, using the car seat manual as a guide.
3. Consider a virtual car seat check
Certified technicians are available across the country to help you install and use your child’s car seat correctly — often at no cost to you. Many also offer virtual seat checks, allowing you to speak with an expert from your own home. Look up car seat inspection options in your community at NHTSA.gov/TheRightSeat.
4. Find the right seat for your child
In addition to installing the car seat correctly, it’s also important to make sure your child is in the right seat for their age and size. Check the limits on your child’s car seat or booster seat to know when it’s time to change the seat they are using. For maximum protection in a crash, kids should not move to the next car seat type until they exceed the height or weight limits of their current seat.
5. Get to know your vehicle
Every vehicle is different. Whether you drive a pickup truck, minivan, sedan or SUV can make a difference in how your child’s car seat should be installed. Check your vehicle’s manual for step-by-step guidance.
You can check if your child is in the right car seat, register your car seat, and find more tips and guidance at NHTSA.gov/TheRightSeat.