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.
We all want to keep our children safe, but sometimes car seat safety gets overlooked. Although 96 percent of parents think that their car seats are properly installed, studies show that 7 out of 10 children are not properly restrained. Often the rules and recommendations change, so it can be hard to keep up with the latest regulations.
Simply placing your car seat or booster in your vehicle isn’t enough. Car seats are only effective if they are properly installed and used. And it can make a huge difference. According to the Utah Health Department, car seats can reduce the chance of a fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for children ages 1 to 4.
Tips for Proper Car Seat Installation
- Proper Size: 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.
- The Right Fit: Seek professional help when installing your car seats. You can make an appointment with a Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in your area.
- Rear-Facing Until 2: 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.
- Give Them a Boost: 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.
- Backseat Rider: 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.
- Free car seat checks. Provided to help ensure the proper use of car seats and to reduce the risk of injury, Click It Utah, provides a list of resources where you can schedule an appointment with a Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in your area to get your car seat checked.
- Spot the Tot Clings: Created to help prevent backover & frontover accidents, by giving you a reminder to look around your car before driving away. You can request your Spot the Tot Clings by emailing your name, mailing Address (US only), and quantity requested (10 max) to PCHHOTDL@imail.org.
- Heat Stroke Prevention Safety SnapLanyard: Fashioned to remind you that you have a child in the backseat, the lanyard snaps into the car seat buckle and when you are ready to buckle your child in, you simply unsnap the lanyard and put it around your neck. As you hop out of the car, the bright yellow lanyard will remind you to take your child with you. You can request lanyards (2 max) by emailing your name, address, and number requested to PCHHOTDL@imail.org.
- Choosing the Right Car Seat: Broken down to help you select the correct car seat for your child’s age, size and the type of vehicle you have, this video from the American Academy of Pediatrics will help you navigate the different car seats on the market.
- Installing a Car Seat: Presented by the AAP to give you a basic overview to help you install your child’s car seat properly. Rear-facing car seat installation can be found here. Forward-facing car seat installation can be found here.
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