The number one killer of children in Alabama is motor vehicle crashes. One simple item could help save countless children is a properly installed child safety seat.
- Did you know that 4 out of every 5 child car seats are installed incorrectly?!
- Over 1/3 of children use the wrong restraint for their size and age.
- Did you know that one third of children are riding in the wrong restraints for their age and size?
Here are some questions to ask yourself about the safety of your child when it comes to riding in a vehicle:
- Does your child ride in the back seat?
- The back seat is considered the safest place in a crash. If your vehicle has a passenger air bag, it is crucial for children 12 and under to ride in back.
- Does your child ride facing the correct way?
- Infants should ride in rear facing restraints (in the back seat) until age 1 and at least 20-22 lbs.
- Infants who weigh 20 lbs. before 1 year of age should ride in a restraint approved for higher rear facing weight limits. Always read your child restraint manual for instructions on properly using the restraint.
- Children must be at least over one year of age and weigh at least 20 pounds to ride forward facing.
- Does the safety belt hold the seat tightly in place?
- Make sure the belt is used in the correct slots. If your safety seat can be used facing either way, use the correct belt path for each direction. Check the vehicle owner’s manual and safety seat instruction book for instructions.
- Is the harness buckled snugly around your child?
- Keep harness straps snug over the child’s shoulders. Place the chest clip at armpit level.
- Does your child who weighs over 40 pounds have the best protection possible?
- Keep your child in a safety seat with a full harness to the upper weight limits of the seat. Then use a belt-positioning booster seat which helps the vehicle lap and shoulder belt fit better. A belt-positioning booster seat is preferred for children between 40-80 pounds. It must be used with the vehicle lap and shoulder belt.
How should a safety belt fit an older child?
- The child should be tall enough to sit without slouching, with knees bent at the edge of the seat, with feet on the floor.
- The lap belt must fit low and tight across the upper thighs.
- The shoulder belt should rest over the shoulder and across the chest.
- Never put the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the child’s back.
- The vehicle lap and shoulder belt system alone will not fit most children until they are at least 4’9″ tall and weigh about 85 pounds
Where can I have my car seat installed at?
All fire stations or administration staff in the City of Dothan can install car seats. Stop by any local fire station and they will happily assist you with your car seat needs.