test your knowledge of child seat safety
What is the "best" Child Restraint System?
All Child Restraint Systems meet Federal Safety Standards. Factors to consider when selecting a child restraint device are:
- The one that fits your child
- The one that fits your car
- The one that you will use correctly every ride
How old does my child have to be before he/she can face forward in his/her car seat?
The child has to be 20 lbs. (depending on car seat manufacturer's instructions) and one-year old.
Why? An infant's head is large and heavy. The neck, bones, ligaments, and muscles are not well developed. Note: You may need a new child restraint device if the top of the head is one inch away from the top of the car seat.
Can I use a second hand car seat?
Acquiring a used car seat can be dangerous. Only a seat with a known history and all its parts intact and functional should be acquired. Make sure it has not been the subject of a RECALL by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
IMPORTANT: If your car seat has been involved in a crash, it must be replaced! Most insurance companies will replace it with the same Child Restraint Device.
How do I know if I have installed my car seat correctly?
First, read the vehicle manual on seat belts and child restraint systems carefully and then the Child Restraint Manufacturer's instructions!
At the path where the seat belt passes through the Child Restraint Device, the car seat should not move more than one inch side to side or away from the seat back. If it does, try to put more weight into the car seat and have another person pull on the seat belt. If the car seat still is not tight, there may be an incompatibility issue with the car seat and your vehicle. The seat may need to be tethered and belted.
Note: Tether straps aid with incompatibility issues between vehicle seat belts and the various types of Child Restraint Devices. If your vehicle does not have a tether anchor, see a dealership near you.
How do I know if I have properly restrained my child in the Child Restraint Device?
First, is the car seat the one that best fits your child's size, weight, and physical tolerance? If yes, are the harness straps through the correct harness slots (Recommendations vary so it is important to read Child Restraint Device manufacturer's instructions.) Make sure the harness straps are adjusted for a snug fit so that they will limit forward motion and provide greater protection in a crash. The harness straps should not be bent, but flush over the shoulders and across the chest and upper thighs. The retainer clip should be at armpit level to prevent ejection during a crash.
Where do I place my Child Restraint Device in my vehicle?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that all children under the age of 12 years old sit in the rear. Rear-facing car seats should be placed in the middle rear so that it is furthest from any crash point on the vehicle.
When can I take my older child out of a Belt Positioning Booster?
When the child weighs 80 or more pounds and if he/she can sit back in the intersection of the seat back and sit with his/her legs bent at the knees.
CAUTION: Air bags are considered Supplemental Restraint Systems to use with Lap/Shoulder belt systems. Read Vehicle Warnings about Air Bags and Child Restraint Systems.