Do you know the correct car seat safety information for your child’s weight and age?
Is the car seat your child is riding in now going to keep them safe in a crash? How will you keep your child warm in their car seat during the winter months? All of these are commonly asked questions by concerned parents who want to ensure their child will be safe while in the vehicle. Below are some tips and recommendations researched by the Learning Ladder Academy management team to ensure all parents are supplied with the correct information.
There are requirements for proper vehicle car seat safety for all children young and old.
The requirements for proper vehicle safety are dependent on each child’s individual age, weight, and developmental needs. Children under the age of two are required by law in Pennsylvania to be rear-facing in a five-point harness. The chest strap should be at armpit level while the harness buckle should be clicked in. The straps should be snug against the child so that there is no slack and cannot be pinched between your fingers.
Children over the age of two through Preschool age can switch to forward-facing based on the parent’s choice (rear-facing is the safest option for children). Like infants and young toddlers, these children should be in a car seat with a five-point harness. Most of the seats on the market for this age group accommodate up to 65 pounds. These children should not be in a booster seat because they typically do not reach the correct height and weight requirements to use the seat belt.
School-aged children, who have outgrown their five-point harness and are at least 5 or older can ride in a high back booster seat. This is typically children over the age of five. The seat belt should rest comfortably across the shoulder and chest. School-aged children who are at least 10 years of age up until age thirteen can ride in a regular booster seat if they are able to pass the five-step test listed below:
- Child’s back is against the back of the seat sitting up straight.
- Child’s knees bend at the edge of the seat.
- The lap belt is low on top of the child’s thighs.
- Shoulder belt is positioned between the shoulder and neck.
- Child can stay still the entire trip (including being able to unbuckle themselves at appropriate times).
*Children under the age of thirteen SHOULD NOT ride in the front seat*
These are some recommendations for the cold winter months.
With the cooler days approaching, a general rule to follow is that bulky items/clothing including but not limited to winter coats, snowsuit, and blankets SHOULD NOT be worn underneath the harness of the car seat. In an event of a crash, the impact could possibly cause the child to slip out of the blanket or clothing causing them to be thrown from their car seat. To prevent any car seat attire mishaps, here are a few tips to keep your little ones warm in the colder months:
- Store carrier car seats indoors when not in use.
- Warm up your vehicle a few minutes before you are leaving for your destination.
- Dress your child(ren) in THIN layers of clothing.
- Hats, mittens, socks, booties, and shoes can be worn.
- Lay a blanket or coat over the chest and lower body of the child. *If the child is an infant, be sure to tuck the blanket in snug to prevent possible suffocation.
- Use a car seat cover, but only if the cover DOES NOT have attachments that go underneath the child.
- Pack an emergency bag in your car with blankets, sweaters, and/or coats.
*As a reminder, if an item did not come with the store-bought car seat, it has not been tested in a crash, so it is unsafe. Avoid purchasing non-regulated infant support inserts, extenders, adjusters, shoulder/strap covers, and/or seat protectors.
“Safety is at the heart of all we do”
*All the information collected for this blog was found on HealthyChildren.org. This website is trusted by pediatricians and parents because it is powered by The American Academy of Pediatrics. The website supplies accurate, helpful, and up to date information on various topics regarding children.