The national average for seat belt usage is at an all time high-82 percent. In the Western states it is even better at 93%, but even as the fatality rate decreases as seat belt use increases, there are still too many avoidable fatalities due to restraint use in America. Even though all 50 states have some sort of restraint law for children, it is still the number one killer of children under 14.
Click it or Ticket (CIOT) is the most successful seat belt enforcement campaign to date. It is the major factor in the decrease of both accidents and fatalities in children and adults. However, while 96% of parents and caregivers believe that their child’s safety seat is installed correctly, in realty research shows that seven out of 10 children are not buckled up right.
Safe Kids Worldwide, is the only international nonprofit organization dedicated solely to preventing unintentional childhood personal injury. It has put together a simple 4 step program that takes the guesswork out of figuring which restraint mechanism to use on your children. This system will take your child from rear -facing infancy restraints to safety belts for older kids with no hesitation on your part.
Step 1 is your infant. Use a rear-facing car seat to at least age 1 and 20 pounds. Never put a rear-facing seat in the front seat of your car, especially if it has an active airbag. Always put an infant in the back seat. You can use this type of device until your infant exceeds the weight limit or their head is one inch from the top of the seat.
Step 2 is your toddler. Your toddler, which is defined as older than 1 year and over 20 pounds, can move up to a forward-facing seat. As with your infant, always place them in the back seat of the car, never in the front seat. If your car is equipped with a tether than this is the safest feature you can have. It will limit the forward motion of your child’s head in a crash. Many children will outgrow this seat when they are 4 or 5. When the top of their ears/head are at the top of the seat, then its time to move them to a taller car seat for older children or a booster chair.
Step 3 is the booster seat. Use a booster chair until your child’s weighs between 80 and 100 pounds and is at least 4 feet, nine inches tall. These are always used in the back seat of a car. Most children will graduate from the booster chair sometime between the ages of 8 and 12, of course depending on weight and height of the child.
Step 4 is a regular seat belt. There is a Safety Belt Fit Test that all kids must pass before allowing them to use a regular seat belt. Basically, the child must sit all the way back on the vehicle seat and the knees should bend naturally at the seat’s edge.
If you ever have questions regarding the proper installation of your child’s car seat, click on over to this governmental site. They will connect you with a child safety service technician in your area. They will make sure that your child’s car seat is secured properly.
And remember “click it” or you’ll get a ticket!