Last month, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) partnered up with law enforcement agencies across Tennessee to promote Child Passenger Safety Week. This campaign week was dedicated to teaching parents and families how important the correct installation of car seats, booster seats and use of seat belts.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at least 24 percent of children between the ages of four and seven were moved over to seatbelts before they were ready. Worse, 9 percent of those children were left with the seatbelt unbuckled. Roughly every 33 seconds, a child is involved in a car crash in the U.S. When you factor in how many were not sitting in the correct car seat, much less without a buckled seatbelt, it becomes obvious the number of deaths and injuries to children is too high and is preventable.
How Do I Know Which Car Seat is Right for My Child?
More data from the NHTSA reveals parents should keep children in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. After a child outgrows the largest rear-facing seat, he or she can be placed in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. After the forward-facing car seat is outgrown, the child should ride in a booster seat until he or she are big enough to properly fit a seatbelt without a booster seat.
This makes a total of four different types of car seats. Typically, the seats will sit the following ages:
- Rear-facing car seat: birth to three-years-old
- Forward-facing car seat: One-year-old to seven-years-old
- Booster seat: four-years-old to 12-years-old
- Seatbelt: eight-years-old and up (there is no appropriate age to ever stop using a seatbelt!)
Parents should make sure they are looking carefully at the car seat manufacturer instructions to make sure the child is the proper height and weight in combination with the above listed ages before upgrading the child to a larger seat. Always remember the backseat of the car is the safest place for all children under the age of 13.
Most importantly, parents should always register the car seat with current contact information so that they can receive notice of a recall. When a car seat is recalled, it is typically because of a manufacturing defect or design defect, both of which can put a child’s life at risk in the event of a car accident.
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4