Car Seat Safety: A Matter of Life and Death
Today’s blog was inspired by two events. First, while Christa and were running errands yesterday, we pulled up to a Black, Ford F-10 at a red light. Imagine our horror when we glanced over and saw a small child (7 or 8) holding a baby (probably 1) in her lap. Our jaws dropped. To make matters worse, the driver of the truck started driving erratically (weaving in and out of traffic, speeding up, running red lights). I took down the license plate and called the non-Emergency Sheriff’s Department to report the driver.
What is wrong with people???? How do you drive around with a baby in your lap in the year 2015?
The second event was a Facebook post that was shared by a grieving mother. A little over a year ago she lost her precious 3 year old daughter because the little girl was not restrained in the proper car seat. The parents did not realize that a booster seat is not appropriate until kids are older. Instead, the little girl should have been in a forward facing upright booster seat with a harness system.
I’m not going to judge the mother because she didn’t know. Her child was in a car seat. There have been a few times that my small 5 year old has ridden in a booster seat without a harness. I now know better.
What are the basic safety rules when it comes to car seats?
Infants/toddler should be rear-facing for as long as possible (ideally until 3 years).
Toddlers/Preschoolers should be in a forward-facing seat with a harness.
School aged children should be in a booster seat until they have reached 4 ft 9 inches in height and are between 8-12 years old.
Car seats should be replaced after a moderate or severe crash.
Children 12 and under should always ride in the back seat.
In general, children should not be in winter coats and strapped into a car seat. The bulky coat makes the harness not as effective in a car crash.
Do not just go by age, but instead height and weight to determine the appropriate car seat for your child.
Before Charlotte was born, Christa went to a police station and had a state trooper properly install the car seat. She couldn’t get over how much valuable information she received. The state trooper told her that the best thing you could do for your small child was to keep him rear facing for as long as possible. Their little bodies are so fragile and can be severely damaged in a bad car accident.
Our question for you is, what can we do to lessen the number of drivers who allow small kids to not be properly restrained?