Statistics, rules and regulations are all so confusing. One thing that remains the same is that all children must ride in a car seat. The Highway Transportation Division recommends all children 10 and under ride in appropriate seats for their age and weight. Many states have laws requiring children to ride in them as well.
If you are traveling through states you might want to look up the laws before you go off without a booster for your older children. The other recommendation for all children is that no matter how old they are thy ride in the back seat! No shotgun for your 11 year old! Children under 14 are safest in the backseat. If your car has airbags you are certainly playing roulette by allowing them to ride up front at all!
A Basic Child Car Safety Checklist
I want to help take the guess work out of the whole car seat thing. By time the kids are older, laws have changed so many times that it is hard to keep up with. The latest lowdown on car seat safety is really not that difficult and following it precisely gives your child a much greater chance of surviving a crash unscathed.
- Infants must ride in the back seat – rear facing until they are both 20 pounds and 1 year old! No exceptions!
- Toddlers can forward face when they are 20 pounds and 1 year. They should ride in a toddler seat that uses a five point harness. Belts should fit right above the shoulder and across the chest. There should be no more than a fingers width of room between the belt and your child! They should remain in these seats until they are 6 years old. (Each state has different laws but the average is 6). If your child can no longer sit properly using the belt loops provided by the car seat either buy a different one or check with your pediatrician about moving them into a booster
- Once your child is 5-6, they can be moved to a booster seat but they must remain in the back seat. Boosters use the installed car seat belts rerouted so that they properly lay across their shoulder and hips.
- It is recommended that a child stay in a booster as long as possible. If they are tall enough to sit in the seat using the regular belts and the belts lay across their shoulder and hips properly it is acceptable to allow them to do so. The longer they stay in a booster, the safer they will be.
That Is the Quick View of the Current Recommendations
Check with your State patrol to see what the laws are in your state. By all means, keep kids no matter how old in the back seat. The back seat is always safer! Now that you have your car seat information you will know what to buy. Only thing left to do is find a way to keep those kids happy in the car!