Summer is in full swing, and that means road trips! Whether you’re going across town or across country, here are some helpful tips to keep you and your little ones (and bigger ones) safely strapped into car seats.
- Buckle Up! Everyone in the car- children and adults alike- need to be buckled at all times. Children learn by example – so parents, buckle up!
- Up to Age 2: The newest car seat recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is that children should be securely harnessed in a rear facing car seat until at least 2 years old- but ideally even longer- until the child reaches either the maximum height or weight limits of their seat. Rear facing children are up to 500 times safer in the event of crash than a forward facing equivalent, and younger children need the car seats’ extra neck and spine support for their growing bodies.
- Ages of 2-5: Children who are forward facing need to be in a 5 point harness while in the car. This age group of children is not developmentally ready for a booster seat of any kind. However, best practice is to keep a child in a 5-point harness as long as they continue to meet the height and weight limits of their seat. A 5-point harness car seat offers better protection and helps reduce crash force over a larger area of the body in the event of a crash. Most children will not developmentally be ready to transfer to a high backed booster until they are at least 40lbs and 40 inches, or 5 years old.
- Ages 5+: Children are booster ready when they are able to sit in their seat without fidgeting or pulling at the seat belt, will not unbuckle themselves while the car is moving and when the parent feels the child is developmentally ready.
- Last but not least your child is ready to transition to a seat belt alone when they pass these five steps:
- Can sit for long periods of time, without pulling at the seat belt or fidgeting
- Shoulder belt comes across at the shoulder-not hitting the child’s neck
- Lap belt sits low and snug across the child’s thighs- not across their belly
- Knees hit the edge of the seat
- Feet sit flat on the floor
For more car safety tips or information visit http://www.safekids.org/ or call the office to speak with our very own CPST, Sarah.
Wishing everyone a safe and peaceful trip wherever this summer takes you!