At Totsafe, we
are always looking for ways to keep kids safe, whether it be
at home, while at grandma's house, or in the car. We
have compiled our favorite car seat safety and child passenger
safety articles, tips, links and charts for reference in
keeping your children safe.
to find certified technicians in your area who can answer your
car seat safety questions, and offer inspections and
Have a child who is heavier
than 40 pounds? Check out our article, Booster
Seat Basics to help keep your child safe in the car.
forget to check out our travel
the best websites we've found dealing with child passenger and
car seat safety is at www.carseatdata.org.
There you can find how to:
of car seat will give your child the best
Learn how to use that type
of seat, and what features
you can purchase that will make it easier for you to
use your seat correctly, every time.
Check out the compatibility
database to see if the seats you want tend to
fit in your cars.
Buy the seat, read the
directions, and try to get the seat installed well.
Get your installation checked
out by a cps
Child Safety Seat Use Chart
Buckle Everyone. Children Age 12 and
Under in Back!
||Birth to 1
under 20-22 lbs.
|Over 1 year
at least 20 lbs-40 lbs.*
|Over 40 lbs.
Ages 4-8, unless over 4'9''.
or rear-facing convertible
positioning booster seat
one year and at least 20 lbs. in rear-facing seats
Harness straps at or below shoulder level
straps should be at or above shoulders
Most seats require top slot for forward-facing
positioning booster seats must be used with both lap
and shoulder belt.
Make sure the lap belt fits low and tight across the
lap/upper thigh area and the shoulder belt fits snug
crossing the chest and shoulder to avoid abdominal
Visit The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
website for information regarding all aspects of driving on
the road, including child car safety information, crash
testing information to help you buy a safer car, and child car
you know that there are significant safety benefits to keeping
a child rear-facing as long as the safety seat allows?
Check your child's seat specifications to
review how long it can be used rear-facing. Many
convertible car seats can be used rear facing up to 30 pounds,
offering better protection in the event of a crash.
CPSafety for more information about extended rear facing.
information regarding the new LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers
for Children) System? Read "Child
Safety Seats Get Safer" by Jayne O'Donnell.
Riding Rules for Tots and Teens
Beyond the basics--children shouldn't sit in front of an air bag, infants need to be in rear-facing child seats--take note of these tips regarding kids and cars that you probably haven't heard
By Jayne O'Donnell, ClubMom, Inc.
Car seats and coats don't always mix.
Before you buckle your baby in a child safety seat during the cold winter months, take off bulky snowsuits and coats. The child seat harnesses won't work as effectively if there's all that cushioning between the baby and the belts. Instead, use blankets to keep your baby warm. (By the way, the same goes for grownups and their winter wraps.)
Some rearview mirrors can be dangerous.
Watch out for mirrors sold to help you keep an eye on your rear-facing infant. Many suction onto the back window or otherwise attach to the back of the car. In a crash—or even if you just stop short—the mirror can go flying and hit your baby or other occupants in the head.
An unlocked auto is a hazard waiting to happen.
Always keep your car locked, even if you live in the safest of neighborhoods. During 2000, at least 32 deaths were attributed to kids being left unattended in or around cars. And that's not just from joyriders—this includes young children who became locked in trunks. It happens because in many vehicle models, children may be able to pop the trunk (from inside or outside) when the car's unlocked, or access the trunk via a pass-through in the backseat.
Not all safety belts save lives.
Beware of safety-belt adjusters, sold in stores, that are designed to make adult safety belts fit kids. These devices are not tested or regulated by the federal government and may, in fact, decrease the effectiveness of a vehicle's safety belts—especially for very young children. General Motors does offer a built-in belt adjuster that the company tests with its belts, and the government says it's okay. Otherwise, if your car's safety belts don't fit a child under 80 pounds, buy a booster seat.
There are rare instances when young kids are safest sitting up front.
While children younger than 13 are generally safest sitting in the back seat of a vehicle, here is an exception: If you drive an older model car that doesn't have a front passenger-side air bag, does have a three-point safety belt in the front passenger seat, and only has lap belts in back. In this case, a child who can no longer fit in a front-facing child safety seat but doesn't yet fit the vehicle's safety belts properly on his own is best off sitting up front in a booster seat, using the vehicle's lap-shoulder belt.
When riding shotgun, it's best to be empty-handed.
Never allow a passenger sitting in the front seat of your car to hold toys, games, or anything else that would come between him and a deploying air bag. At least one child has been seriously injured when the bag hit a toy in front of his face.
ClubMom's AutoPro, Jayne O'Donnell, is a Washington, D.C.-based reporter (and new mom!) whose automotive expertise and investigative reporting skills have helped break some of the biggest auto-safety stories of the past several years.
Copyright © 1999-2004 ClubMom, Inc. All rights reserved.
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