Article at a Glance
• Car seats can reduce the chance of a fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for children ages 1 to 4.
• Infants under 2 should remain in a rear-facing car seat and children under 8 years of age need to be in a car seat or booster.
• Learning how to properly install and use your child’s car seat makes it more effective.
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that nearly 5 out of every 10 car seats are not properly restrained, even though 83% of drivers said they were “confident” or “very confident” that they installed it correctly.
The data shows a significant discrepancy between the proper way to install a car seat and what most people believe to be the proper way. In other words, a majority of parents may be inadvertently putting their children in danger.
So what is the correct way to install a car seat to keep our kids safe? And what does Utah State law have to say?
Proper car seat installation and how your child should be situated in a car seat is a combination of a few factors including the child’s height, weight, and age. It is important to review all safety instructions that come with your car seat to ensure proper installation.
If you are unsure if you’ve installed a car seat correctly, the Utah County Health Department offers car seat safety classes and checks. To schedule, call (801) 851-7035.
Select a car seat or booster seat based on your child’s age, height, and weight to ensure the seat fits them correctly so they can safely be restrained.
Children should remain rear facing in a car seat until they are two years old. For the first two years of life your child’s head is heavier than their body. The impact from a crash is too much for their neck to support. Remaining rear facing provides the extra support needed to prevent injury.
Children should ride in the backseat until they are 13. The seats and airbags in the front are intended for males weighing between 150 to 160 pounds. They can harm your child and possibly cause fatal injuries.
In Utah, the law says that children under the age of 8 and less than 57 inches tall must ride in a booster seat. The booster puts their bodies at the right height for the seatbelt and reduces the chance of major injury.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children should not be transitioned to a booster seat until they outgrow the height and weight limits for their forward facing car seat.
If you ever wondered what those metal loops are on the back of the rear row of seats in your car, then wonder no more! These serve an important purpose in the LATCH system.
LATCH is an acronym for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, which is a system for securing a car seat that has been required in new cars since 2002. The requirements were updated in 2014 to adjust for modern car seats and make installation easier. Learn more about LATCH.
Key facts about the LATCH system:
Using a car seat is extremely important in protecting a child in the event of an accident, and it’s also the law. Here a few important Utah car seat laws:
Keeping your child safe while in the car should be one of the primary concerns of any parent. If you have any questions about how to safely use your car seat, you can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s site at www.safercar.gov/parents/ or the AAP website.