Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children up to the age of fourteen, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation. Many of these deaths occurred because the children were not properly restrained.
Motor vehicle accidents are also one of the top ten causes of non-fatal injuries for children in this age range.
Most parents agree that their infant or toddler needs to ride in a car seat, but put their older children in a regular seat way too early, which means they are not fully protected if in a car accident.
Seat belts are made for adults. Children won't be ready to use a seat belt until they weigh 80 pounds, or are 4'9" tall. Until that time, the seat belt rides on the abdomen, and the shoulder strap may ride over the neck, either of which can cause serious injuries in an accident.
Current State Law Requires
Children under the age of four years an appropriate child passenger safety restraining system that meets or exceeds the standards and specifications contained in federal motor vehicle safety standard no. 213
Children four years of age, but under the age of eight years and who weighs less than 80 pounds or is less than 4 feet 9 inches in height, an appropriate child passenger safety restraining system that meets or exceeds the standards and specifications contained in federal motor vehicle safety standard no. 213
Children 8 years of age but under the age of 14 years or who weighs more than 80 pounds or is more than 4 feet 9 inches in height, a safety belt manufactured in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standard no. 208
Most children will sit in a booster seat if parents are firm about it. Emphasize the fact booster seats are for safety, and highlight other features such as the cup holders, arm rests, and being able to look out the window. If the child is resistant to sitting in a high back booster seat, and your car has built-in head rests, then you may be able to use a low-back booster seat, which looks less like a car seat. Low-back booster seats are inexpensive, easy to move between cars, and hard to see from the outside of the car, so your child's friends don't have to know that they are in a car seat, if that is the issue.
Which Car Safety Seat is the Best?
No one car seat is the best or the safest. The best safety seat is the one that fits your child, is correctly installed, and is properly used when you drive. Don't base your decision solely on price when purchasing a car seat. Higher prices usually mean added features that may or may not make the seat safer or easier to use. All car safety seats sold in the United States must meet strict safety standards established and maintained by the Federal Government.
When you find a seat you like, try it out. Put your child in it and adjust the harnesses and buckles. Make it sure it fits properly and securely in your car.
Important Safety Rules
• Never place your child in a rear-facing safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has a passenger air bag
• The safest place for all children to ride is in the back seat
• Set a good example: always wear your seat belt
• Each child safety seat is different. Read and keep the instructions that came with your seat handy, and follow the manufacturer's instructions
• Read your car's owner's manual on how to correctly install car safety seats