Car Safety for Tots

If you were ever in a car accident during a routine errand run, would you be sure that your little one was safe in the back seat? In 2007, a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed as many as half of child passengers ages four to seven were not properly restrained, either using seat belts before they were ready (35%), or not restrained at all!

National Child Passenger Safety Week kicks off on this Saturday, September 20, 2008, with the NHTSA’s annual National Seat Check. Certified technicians will inspect your child seats for free to be sure they are appropriate and correctly installed. Visit to find a child seat fitting station near you and view car seat ratings.

In the mean time, always put kids under the age of 13 in the back seat, and follow these guidelines from the NHTSA:

1. Start with rear-facing seats from birth until your baby is at least 1-year-old and 20 pounds

2. Then use forward-facing toddler seats until he is about 4-years-old and 40 pounds.

3. Switch to booster seats until he hits 8-years-old and at least 4’9” tall.

4. Safety belts are okay after he grows beyond 4’9”. The shoulder belt should cross his chest and rest on his shoulder, while the lap belt should rest low across the pelvis or hip—never across the stomach.

—Dorkys Ramos